“So, tell me about yourself.”
– Every job interviewer ever
It only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. That’s just enough time to smile, give a firm handshake, and deliver a half-baked one-liner that might earn you a pity laugh. However, your answer to “tell me about yourself” can set the mood and direction for the rest of the interview.
But let’s not forget that a lot of recruiting starts online nowadays. Your digital first impression doesn’t come from how you strut from booth to booth at career fairs, but how you introduce yourself online. Your LinkedIn, BumbleBizz, or personal website About Me bio must show off your voice and charisma through words since you’re not physically meeting the reader in person (yet).
Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes. Imagine that you’re looking for a graphic design intern and stumble across a creative portfolio that says…
“Hi, welcome to my website. I am a sophomore at UT, foodie, and graphic designer. Scroll down to check out my creative work.”
That intro doesn’t scream “creative” to me. It’s bland like tap water. Let’s crack open a LaCroix and zest it up.
“I make my own granola bars from scratch because I am what I crEATe. My granola bars are fresh, simple, and shareable, just like my creative work. Want a taste?”
Doesn’t that paint a prettier picture? The intro is still short and sweet, but it tickles the taste buds and commands attention.
The two most common excuses people have for not writing compelling, concise personal pitches are…
- “I’m boring. I don’t know what to say about myself.”
- “I’m too interesting. I don’t know how to introduce myself without writing a 200-page memoir.”
I’ll be the first to tell you that you’re not boring and you’re not that interesting. You can do it.
Last month, I helped a dear friend of mine write an About Me for her creative portfolio. I’ll refer to her as Granola Gal for the rest of the article. We sat down for an hour, did a 1-on-1 writing workshop, and cranked out that spicy intro you read above, as well as a full-length About Me.
Here is the very same proprietary exercise (patent pending) to help you craft your own stunning About Me.
Note: Granola Gal’s responses and our thought process are in italics so you can follow how this exercise works IRL.
Step 1. Answer some self-reflection questions
These questions should bring your passions, goals, and skills to the surface. Write down or type out your answers.
1. What are your three core passions?
- Food. Especially bread. I LOVE bread.
- Hispanic culture
- Community service
2. What is your dream job before you die?
- Working at a non-profit or company that is doing a lot of good
3. What is your dream job by the end of this year?
- Graphic design or social media intern at an ultra-creative company
4. You just started a blog. What are the titles of your first three articles?
- “How to Make Granola Bars from Scratch”
- “The Power of YouTube”
- “Livin’ La Vida Vegan”
5. You know the game two truths and a lie? Forget the lie, just write down three mind-blowing truths.
- I make my own granola bars every week.
- I acted as a translator for 30 students while studying abroad in Argentina.
- Surprise, I am Mexican, even if you don’t think I look like one.
Step 2. Elaborate on what you just wrote
Step 1 is to help you outline what you are already doing and what you want to do in the future. Now focus on the WHY.
- I practice graphic design because I like creating simplified, refined work that is easy on the eyes, but still memorable.
- I make my own granola bars because most are full of unnecessary additives, preservatives, and processed sugar. I know mine are made of the good stuff.
- I love my Hispanic culture because there is such a big emphasis on family, language, and traditions. Everyone is so nice, welcoming, and we always have big parties with our big families.
- I volunteer because I get to make a difference while sharing my passions with others, like when I read with kids, paint faces at school carnivals, or help at farmers markets.
Step 3. Highlight key points and connect the dots
Look for themes or topics that keep popping up in your answers. Find a way to link these seemingly independent quirks together.
- Hmmm, looks like Granola Gal makes homemade granola bars, eats vegan bread, and designs clean graphics for the same reason: to keep things exceptionally simple.
- Furthermore, she loves having a big family and helping people outside of her family.
Step 4. Write a three-sentence teaser trailer for yourself
Grab some key points and weave them into a quick introduction.
I make my own granola bars from scratch because I am what I crEATe. My granola bars are fresh, simple, and shareable, just like my creative work. Want a taste?
Step 5. Write your feature-length About Me
Add some meat to your teaser trailer and make sure you communicate your skills, interests, and goals. Depending on your background and site content, you may want to write a longer or shorter About Me than this example:
¡Hola! My name is Granola Gal and I make my own granola bars from scratch because I am what I crEATe. My granola bars are fresh, simple, and shareable, just like my creative work.
I am a sophomore business honors and marketing major at The University of Texas at Austin. I love graphic design almost as much as I love food, Hispanic culture, and my community. I pursue professional and philanthropic projects that sharpen my skills and empower other people.
Bread is my favorite food group, and I can help you make some serious dough. Want a taste of what I’ve already cooked up? Scroll down.
Tada! There you have it: a head-turning About Me that will help you lock down an interview, connect with somebody on LinkedIn, and match with the perfect BumbleBizz mentor (or Bumble date). If you had fun on your journey of self-discovery, please share this article with a friend who has a lame About Me and watch the sparks fly.