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Telling Your Story

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"Tell me about yourself."

Tip: This is a question you are certain to be asked, in one form or another, during an informational interview, job shadowing experience, or at the start of a job or internship interview. 

There are three parts to your networking story: your background, your interest in the field, and what you’re hoping to learn from your conversation. Start by considering what information you want your interviewee or host to know about you. Review your resume and choose which pieces of your background you want to highlight. Avoid going into too much depth on your personal history and focus on conveying information that is important to the opportunity.

There is no rule as to how long your story should be, though a general guideline is to keep it under two minutes. Use the questions below as prompts to plan your answer:

  • What class year are you? What is your area of study?  
  • Are there aspects of your academic background or research that are relevant to the conversation or the work your host is doing?
  • What have you done prior to this experience? Highlight what you were able to learn or accomplish during the experience.
  • What activities or groups are you affiliated with at Yale? What is your role within the group? What experience or exposure are you gaining from the affiliation?
  • What sparked your interest in your interviewee/host’s field? How did you come to the conclusion that your interviewee/host’s field is one that interests you?
  • Why did you want to speak with them or shadow them? What have you already learned about the field and what are you hoping to learn from your conversation/shadowing?

Finally, as important as it is to structure and plan how you present your story, it is equally important to practice it, as what is in your mind is often not what is actually communicated in the moment. Avoid writing every word out and memorizing it; this will make your story sound unnatural, rehearsed, and overworked. First impressions are made quickly; make sure that impression is a positive one, presenting yourself as a confident, self-aware professional.

Link: Creating Your Story for Career Conversations and Interviews