Essay About Myself For Job
by Carole Martin
Monster Interview Coach
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in an interview: Tell me about yourself. Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.
Eleanor dreaded this question. When it was the first one asked at her interview, she fumbled her way through a vague answer, not focusing on what she could bring to the job.
"I’m happily married and originally from Denver," she began. "My husband was transferred here three months ago, and I’ve been getting us settled in our new home. I’m now ready to go back to work. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer service-related. I’m looking for a company that offers growth opportunities."
The interview went downhill after that. She had started with personal information and gave the interviewer reason to doubt whether she was an employee who would stay for very long.
- She’s married, and when her husband gets transferred that means she has to leave; she did it once and can do it again.
- She has some work experience with customers but didn’t emphasize what she did.
- She is looking to grow. What about the job she is applying for? Will she stay content for long?
The secret to successfully responding to this free-form request is to focus, script, and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.
List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?
Eleanor is strong in communications and connecting with people. She has a strong background and proven success with customer relationships. Her real strength is her follow-through. She prides herself on her reputation for meeting deadlines.
Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success:
"I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months."
Next, mention your strengths and abilities:
"My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time."
Conclude with a statement about your current situation:
"What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales."
Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it -- you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.
Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product -- you -- the better chance you will have at selling it.
Potential employers often want more than cover letters and resumes; they want to know how well you express yourself, handle spontaneous tasks and follow directions. If you want to nail your job application essay, don't rush. Take your time and double-check your work. Remember -- without making a good impression on paper, you won't get the chance to make an impression in person.
Pay close attention to the instructions. Employers often use job application essays, in part, to determine whether you’ll be a good fit for their company. If you go off-topic in your essay, they’ll know without meeting you that you have trouble following directions. As you prepare your essay, make sure you answer the question they’re asking -- no more, no less. Also, stick with the parameters set, as far as the length, formatting and font. If no parameters are set, try to make your essay no longer than one page. Your potential employer wants to read an essay, not a term paper.
Take notes on your essay before you begin writing the actual draft. Perhaps you have several ideas about how to begin, or several angles from which you’d like to approach the essay topic. Use your brainstorm session to try out different ideas and find the one that suits you best.
Outline Your Essay
As the architect of your essay, you'll need a solid blueprint. Use a few sentences apiece to summarize your thesis statement, your introductory paragraph, your supporting paragraphs, and your conclusion. Use the outline like a map to determine whether your essay is headed in the right direction. Ask whether your introduction supports your thesis. Do the supporting paragraphs support the introduction? Does the conclusion summarize the main points? Looking at the bare bones of your essay will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, and what needs to be added or taken away.
Make clear and concise statements in your essay to keep your potential employer's interest. Refrain from using vague phrases. For example, instead of writing, “I’m a good employee and I love to work,” write, "I showed that I love to work when I served as chairperson for ABC Company's weekend initiative -- we successfully lobbied to have the offices opened during the weekends, so employees can catch up on paperwork and meetings without the distraction of clients calling."
Show and Prove
Your job application essay should provide clear examples to back up each of your claims. Instead of, “I’m a great salesperson,” say, “In my last position, I had the highest record in my entire region for three consecutive quarters.” Instead of, “I’m really good with people,” say, “Due to my outstanding service skills, I had the highest number of repeat customers in the district. People requested me by name.”
Even if you are given creative license, recognize that this essay is your potential employer’s first glimpse of your work persona. Don’t put anything in the essay that you wouldn’t want to say to her face. Treat the essay like an interview and write accordingly.
About the Author
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.
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