“Tell me about yourself.” It’s an interview question many people don’t know how to answer to their best advantage. There’s a great way to structure your answer and it’s based on your Core Value Proposition.

If you’ve read much of my blog or my book, you know that my goal is for you to identify your Core Value Proposition: how you distinctly provide value to an employer. Your CVP is vased on what you love to do, do well, have done before, and want to do again.

To answer the interview question “tell me about yourself,” keep it short and to the point. Make it relevant to the employer. Follow these steps:

Identify 3 ways you provide distinct value to an employer. These are three things you do and have done with great results.  Here’s a couple of examples:

S. is in marketing after a long career in sales. Her three messages are:

  • I understand how to use marketing to drive leads because of my successful sales career.
  • I am great at managing complex projects and getting everyone on board to deliver quality results on time.
  • I’m familiar with a lot of different marketing platforms, from websites to trade shows, e-newsletters to social media, list building and analytics – and quickly learn new ones.

J. is a project manager with a PMP certification. His three messages are:

  • I love project management and the entire process of goal setting, planning, setting milestones, marshaling resources, monitoring the timeline and activities, and pulling everything to produce a excellent results on time and in budget.
  • I’ve done project management in diverse industries, including advertising, accounting, internet-based services, and housing development, and very quickly pick up the knowledge I need.
  • I know the essential project management tools and seek out and learn new ones that will allow me to add even more value.

Link each of the three Value messages to at least one of your jobs. In this way, you can tell the story of your career in a way that is really relevant to the employer.  You want to show how you have used your abilities in previous jobs because past performance is the best indicator of future performance.  Here are some examples of how to do this.

S. will add this to her first sentence: At xyz company, the sales people loved me because I delivered warm leads to them, and supplied them with the right support materials for them to make the compelling case for our services.

J. will say “at abc company, I was able to deliver the integration of two databases for the merged company ahead of schedule.”

Try out your complete answer with a friend. The more times you answer, the more comfortable you’ll be in the actual interview.  Rehearsing is intended to imbue the answer into your brain and being, so that you answer easily and naturally in the interview.

Return over and over to the three messages. These are the key to your value, and they are what you want employers to remember about you. Tie these messages to how you would approach the prospective job. By returning to these key message points several times in the interview, they will stick in the interviewer’s head.  Repetition of key messages is at the heart of successful marketing, including in the job market.  A real plus:  you will feel more comfortable in the interview because you know how to answer the question and have a message point to which you can return.

Marketing yourself in the job market means showing the employer how you will solve their problems. This answer gets the ball rolling very quickly to demonstrate how you have used your skills and abilities to benefit your previous employers.