Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you had a great week. Just an update to my current goings and doings, I am currently back home taking a break from the sunlight. It’s been a tad cooler along the coast these past few days and I am definitely not complaining. Nice as the summer weather has been, there is a boundary to my toleration – and at 30-30 c, it was definitely surpassed!
So today’s blog topic is about applications. Although I strongly recommend making sure you get all the rest following a tiring revision and examination period, I decided to write this post for all those people who get (quietly) bored of resting and may want to do something careers-oriented over the next few months. I have written previous posts around careers and applications already so make sure you take a look at those as well!
Today’s subject is about applications – particularly that dreaded question,
“So tell me about yourself.”
I know what you’re thinking: ugh.
Considering how much time and effort we spend presenting ourselves to people, through face-to-face conversations or digital platforms, I have to say that most people find answering this question spectacularly difficult. On an application form, it is often disguised as other questions but they all mean the same thing! And what makes it worse is it’s not a question designed to trip you up, or an allusion to a query that is deeper and more complicated – it is exactly as it sounds. The employer wants to get to know you in the way you see yourself – and if you’ve ever had to answer it before, I’m sure you’ll understand that it’s tricky in it’s own way.
Something that plays in an applicant’s favour when this question comes up on the application form is that it is an answer you can revise and improve. It’s not as startling as a question that is posed during an interview and demands a straight on-the-spot answer – although I highly recommend preparing for that too.
My advice for this question is fourfold: to be honest, clear, interesting and tailored. The first echoes what the rest of your application form should be – an accurate picture of you and your achievements. If you only know the basics of German language, don’t refer to yourself as a “confident German speaker” in your description. Even though this question might be the first on the application form, they can still press you on it during interview so don’t ruin your chances by tripping the first hurdle.
Second, be clear but be interesting. Being clear means that you are normally not given many words or sentences to portray yourself so make sure that the words you write encompasses the traits you want to convey. Answering the question and being interesting doesn’t mean writing something whacky or designed to raise an eyebrow – it means asking yourself the question “If I was an HR employee, reading three hundred of these a day, what could I put down about myself that will set me apart?”. This is always challenging and how ‘interesting’ you want to be truly depends on the job you’re applying for.
This leads well to the idea of being tailored. As an applicant, don’t waste your time and the time of the person reading your from – research the company, research the employers, research the people who will be reading your application. Each company, no matter how similar they may seem to you, operates with distinct working cultures and they will also want different things from applicants. So don’t think that sending one application form to one company means that you can send that same form to someone else in the same sector!
Thank you for reading up to this – I won’t keep you much longer!
Enjoy the sunshine and have a great week.