So Tell Me About Yourself…
The year was 2004 and the location was Texas…I was a broke college student in desperate need of a job…if McDonalds was hiring Mechanical Engineers I would have gladly taken the job!
Fortunately for me I was lucky enough to be at the National Society Of Black Engineers Career fair in Dallas, if there was there was a perfect place to find a job…it was here. With over 500 companies in attendance even a History major could get hired on the spot. I wandered around the career fair going from company to company and passing out my resume…it was almost the end of the day and I was close to the point of exhaustion when I bumped into a friend of mine. He informed me that he had just(emphasis on JUST) spoken to a lady at Motorola who was looking for Mechanical Engineers…Motorola did not strike me as a company that would hire Mechanical Engineers, but I was desperate and a job with Motorola would be way better than a McDonalds job. So I
flew ran to the Motorola booth. I spotted the lady my friend was talking about from a distance, she had several other students huddled around her. So I waited patiently until it was my turn. When it was finally my turn, I handed her my resume. From the look on her face she was clearly excited about the resume and had already started beaming when I asked a question that would paralyze her face “So tell me…what does a Mechanical Engineer do at your company?” I had never seen a face go from glow to gloom in just a matter of seconds. It was as if I had asked about her “sexuality” or “political party!”
Immediately she handed me my resume and told me to check the Motorola website for what Mechanical Engineers did. I stood rooted to the spot in confusion…what had just happened?
Needless to say I never got a job with Motorola (which is why I would never buy any Motorola phone…until she apologizes), but I did learn a critical lesson about networking…
Almost every day on blackberry, I get a similar question from people (mainly bloggers trying to network) “so tell me about yourself?” I used to answer that question, but after saying the same thing over and over again I began to get exasperated answering it and in the end I just ended up ignoring the question altogether. Ironically it was probably the same thing that happened to me in Dallas, maybe the lady was tired of answering that same question or my mouth really smelt (only God knows). But what I started learning was that in networking it is good to come to the table with some information…
Last year I was looking for a speaker for my annual social media bootcamp, I had heard a lot about a super blogger whose name rhymes with Belinda. But before we ever spoke or met officially, I had done a lot of research on her. I studied past interviews she had done and noted her
controversial fun blog posts. By the time we sat down to discuss, I had a bunch of information about her. I did not ask “so tell me about yourself” but rather “so tell me about this particular situation that happened at this particular time on this particular day.” At the end of the day she ended up speaking at the conference.
When you approach a person that you might need something from, it is always good to study them and ask detailed questions. It impresses them and shows that you are serious and it opens up a lot of opportunities for you. So to all the amazing bloggers and writers and entrepreneurs out there…remember if you want to impress during networking avoid saying…so tell me about yourself (hint hint)
Wishing You Extreme Success,