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What to do when they say “tell me about yourself”

How do you answer the question “tell me about yourself” and what mistakes should you avoid in your academic interview.

As you begin your academic interview you may well be asked this question which will set the tone for the rest of the meeting, so it is important to prepare for it to avoid being put off course. You will have probably been asked the very same question as an icebreaker in other contexts such as conferences.  Dave Jensen is an accomplished writer and speaker on career issues worldwide. He published one of those evergreen pieces on this very topic back in 1998. It continues to be a highly popular post which is relevant to both academics and those working in other industries. Dave gives several strategies on how to prepare for the two minute, five minute or ten minute response.

One of Dave’s key points to remember is to always ask the interviewer how much time you have to answer, and use the opportunity to highlight your personal strengths. When you refer to your accomplishments set the scene by stating the problem/challenge you faced, your approach to it and what results you got.

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