Oftentimes, the question leaves you feeling stuck, especially when asked during a job interview.

Why is this question so dreaded? Who knows you better than you? You should be the expert, right?

Well, the truth of the matter is that there’s probably a lot more to you than can be described in the length of a short interview. What helps is if you don’t think of it as a question at all. In reality, the interviewer is essentially handing you the keys to the interview, they’re letting you adjust the seat, and pick the music as well.

Now take a breath, all they want to know is …

Where you were: Describe your previous job experience and what the path to it looked like?

Where you are now: What have you learned in your current position?

Where you want to be: What are your career plans?

Think about answers to these questions as ways you can demonstrate your talents and skills at different points of time.

Start by choosing a skill, and describe how you used that skill on the job. If you’re a natural leader, share the time when you saved your previous workplace from certain doom during a huge rush by delegating roles to maximize efficiency. If you’re well organized, describe how you kept neat and flawless sales records for three years.

Next, if you’re still employed, describe what you’re doing at work. This is also a good opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company to which you have applied.

Lastly, you’re giving an earnest prediction of how your skills will serve you and will have developed in the future. What will you have accomplished there in a year? In five years? How did you accomplish these things?

Remember, this isn’t about your personal likes, dislikes, or what you can do. Rather, it’s all about what you’ve done for others and how that will translate to what you’ll do for your new boss as well.

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