Your opening argument: How to respond when your interviewer says, '''Tell me something about yourself'' | LegalAuthority.com
 People Love Legal Authority: Reviews


Need Help? Call 1-800-283-3860.
Already a Member? Sign In
Share
"The most common means of obtaining a job was a letter or other "self-initiated contact" with the employer..."
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LAW PLACEMENT
Advice

Featured Articles

 

  EMAIL TO FRIEND

  PDF VERSION

  PRINTABLE VERSION

Your opening argument: How to respond when your interviewer says, '''Tell me something about yourself''



Once you have an interview scheduled, you need to be able to answer the perennial threshold question: Tell me something about yourself. This article will explain how to best answer this question.

A few years ago, the New York Times featured a front-page picture of a personal injury lawyer advertising his skills in a television commercial. The attorney appeared as a prizefighter—in trunks and boxing gloves—slugging it out in a boxing ring with an actor posing as a legal opponent.

Most lawyers might hesitate to advertise their skills so blatantly. But many lawyers, while sensitive to the need of developing business and skilled in the subtle ways of promoting their legal services, remain blissfully ignorant of one the most effective techniques for marketing themselves in a job search: the profile statement.

The one query most often posed to legal job seekers is that overused expression: Tell me something about yourself. You hear it when you are screened over the phone after responding to a legal advertisement. Callers will ask, "Could you tell us a little bit more about your background?" You also detect it, although it is disguised in one way or another, during an actual job interview: Why don't you just briefly run me through your background?

Successful salespeople often say that if you cannot compress the benefits of your product or service in 60 seconds of less, you'll lose a sale. That is why it is so important to prepare a credible, well-scripted answer to the "Tell me something about yourself" question because it is an interview door-opener. If you do not have a well-prepared, 60-second answer to that threshold question and cannot recite it as if it were spontaneous and unrehearsed, you have stumbled badly. You have missed the opportunity right at the beginning of the interview to establish your credibility and let your audience hear your "music"-your energy, your enthusiasm-everything that makes you an interesting and attractive candidate.

Repeatedly, when asked the "Tell me something about yourself" question, lawyers pause and, no matter how articulate they may be professionally, bumble through their answers. They don't make a good argument for themselves. Curiously, the diligence that lawyers always undertake for clients is often forgotten when making cases for themselves.

Stating Your Case

In introducing yourself-when you are screened over the phone, in the office of a potential legal employer, and especially during an interview with a hiring committee-it is critically important that you immediately establish your credibility. You must describe for your audience-as clearly and concisely as possible-your work history, your specific expertise, significant accomplishments, educational background, and anticipated career direction. You can do this with a well-prepared "opening argument" that provides your audience with an excellent first impression and tells succinctly:

  • Where you are coming from


  • Where you want to go


  • Your credentials to go there
Creating Your Profile Statement

There's an easy way to develop your own "opening argument" for phone screenings and face-to-face interviews:

First, read some of the samples below. Think how you would describe some of the highlights of your own career, what you want to say, and how you would describe your legal experience.

Next, use the form below as your guide. However, before you write out your Profile Statement word-for-word, talk it through in your mind and listen to how you are describing your experience. Find words that fit, that sound right, and then write out this internal script and see how it looks, how it feels to you. Be sure that you are as concrete as possible. Paint a word picture.

Some Samples

An associate, in her mid-30s, seeking to transfer her credentials:

I am an attorney with significant experience in the Delaware Valley nonprofit community, including the Girl Scouts and the American Heart Association. In addition, I was Chair of last fall's highly successful drive for the Battered Women's Shelter. My law degree is from Syracuse University, and I'm a cum laude graduate of Bryn Mawr. Presently, I am an associate at the Bailey, Banks & Biddle law firm.

At Bryn Mawr, I designed a new alumni development campaign, recruited student volunteers, and managed a telemarketing event that realized approximately $100,000 for the college development fund. Based upon my considerable experience in the nonprofit sector, I am considering a new direction in institutional development with either a United Way agency or a private foundation. I possess extensive local corporate and community contacts, and I would describe myself as a results-oriented professional who can identify objectives and achieve goals.

A partner from a failing commercial practice:

I presently provide direction and manage a comprehensive commercial and business practice as a partner in a 55-attorney civil litigation firm. I handle a broad range of issues, including products liability, professional malpractice, and employment discrimination. As managing partner, I introduced new computer and communication systems and streamlined case handling procedures, resulting in savings in excess of $1 million annually. In this capacity, I also serve a diverse client base-including such companies as Ardmore Aeronautics, Bonato Designs, and Pelagian Pharmaceuticals-where I act as outside counsel and troubleshooter on a variety of concerns. My law degree is from Georgetown University, where I was on the law review, and I am also a graduate of Marquette University. Because of my firm's impending downsizing, I am seeking a position as in-house counsel in a small to mid-sized corporate entity.

Counsel for a municipal agency seeking a lateral move:

As counsel for the District of Columbia's Housing Authority (DCHA), I possess comprehensive experience in risk management, claims adjustment, and the oversight of a large Workman's Compensation program. In this position, I recently uncovered a $500,000 fraud by a provider who was billing the agency for services never furnished. My law degree is from Rutgers University School of Law, Evening Division, and my B.A. is in Human Services from Antioch College. After eight successful years in my present position, I feel it's time for new challenges and am seeking a position in the corporate legal department of a major private security agency, where I can offer my superior abilities in compensation program management and pension and benefits oversight. I would describe myself as a dedicated administrator with comprehensive legal and management abilities.

Getting Started

Use the above "opening arguments" as guidelines, and write out your own Profile Statement. Just answer each question in about a paragraph, and then put your words together into one comprehensive statement.

Where have you been?

Where do you want to go?

What are your credentials to go there?

Practice Makes Perfect

When you have completed your script, read it aloud. Make it conversational. Record yourself and listen. Edit your Profile down to about one minute, and learn it verbatim. Do you tell a story? Do you paint a picture? At first, it may sound stilted or canned, but with a little practice, you will soon be giving it back naturally.

Practice, practice, practice. Learn it by heart and keep practicing until it becomes smoother, more spontaneous, and sounds unrehearsed. It could just be the greatest "opening argument" you will ever make.




Facebook comments:



Related Articles

Tell me a story!

Several years ago, lawyer and legal consultant Brian Howard was asked to address a group of Washington attorneys on a very sensitive subject: the quality of life in law firms. Howard spoke for about h...

Something Most Recruiters Will Never Tell You:
The Three Ways Legal Recruiters Recruit

INTRODUCTIONEvery individual recruiter's style has a certain merit. Nevetheless, when you are dealing with recruiters it is important to be aware of their particular recruiting style. As the head of...

Tell Your Story - The Unique Value Of The Functional Resume

THE FUNCTIONAL RESUME TELLS STORIES. It presents a lawyer's credentials under skill headings, rather than by the more conventional way of job task descriptions. It does this by illustrating these skil...

Marketing yourself

Corporate folklore abounds with stories about the catastrophic failures of some once well-advertised products, such as the Ford Edsel, New Coke, and Japanese Pampers. New product introductions aren't ...

Finding Your Niche - The Smart Way To Market Yourself

CORPORATE FOLKLORE ABOUNDS WITH STORIES about the catastrophic failures of some once well-advertised products, such as the Ford Edsel, New Coke, and Japanese Pampers. New product introductions aren't ...

What's Your Story?-How To Sell Yourself During An Interview

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, lawyer and legal consultant Brian Howard was asked to address a group of Washington attorneys on a very sensitive subject: the quality of life in law firms. Howard spoke for about h...

Give Yourself the Most Options

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu said: ''To be able to transform with the enemy is what is meant by 'spiritlike'.''...



"Show us you are alive! We want to hear your thoughts. Please comment on this article (below)!"

Article ID:  70031  www.legalauthority.com

Article Title:  Your opening argument: How to respond when your interviewer says, '''Tell me something about yourself''

Be the first to comment on this article!

Add Comment


  • Share this story:


  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Sphinn
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Simpy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
  • Faves
  • Furl
  • Netvouz
  • Slashdot
  • Spurl
  • Yahoo! Buzz





Sign up for a "Free, No Obligation Resume Critique" and "Free Market Evaluation". Let us tell you how much potential you have!
 
WE ARE VERY DISCRETE IN ALL CALLS.



Reviews
What Our Clients Are Saying
I hate litigation. I hate it with a fiery, fiery passion. Even though I was at an Am Law 100 firm, I basically could not stand my job one minute longer. Thanks for helping me make the transition to a ...
- Jill

I had no future in financial advising, so I made the decision to go back to school and get my law degree and LLM from a top 25 school. I still had trouble finding work until I did the mailing with you...
- Jennifer P.

Legal Authority is THE place to begin any legal career search. I was moving from out of state and unsure of my prospects. After Legal Authority polished up my resume and I sent it out with their help...
- B.B.

 MORE
Options
Your Options
Getting an In-House Position
Myth Versus Reality for Law Firm Jobs
Myth Versus Reality for In-House Jobs
Myth versus Reality: Law School Professor Jobs
Myth Versus Reality: Federal Clerkships, State &...
Myth versus Reality: Prosecutor Jobs
Pro Bono Legal Work and Your Legal Career
Give Yourself the Most Options
Major Practice Areas Analyzed
Starting a Career as a Real Estate Lawyer
Featured Advice
Featured Advice
New York Versus London Firms
Law School for Mature Students
The First Born Phenomenon
The Story Doesn't End There
Economics and ''Mean'' Law Firms
How to Acquire the Best Legal Jobs
The Art Of Networking - A Guide To A Networking...
How To Use Job Boards And Advertisements To Jump...
Finding Your Niche - The Smart Way To Market Yourself
Be an Effective Negotiator - How to Get the...
What Legal Authority Does
The In-House Position Maze
TAKING YOUR RESUME TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Why Legal Authority Works in Bad Economies
How We Work on Client Files at Legal Authority
5 Biggest Attorney Job Search Mistakes
Attorneys and law students are one of the most ill-informed groups of people there are when it comes to conducting a job search. MORE
Legal Authority Outplacement Program
Give your attorneys the most opportunities.
Making economic or strategic adjustments in personnel can be a tough decision for any firm... MORE
Law Student Wins with Legal Authority
How a highly successful Manhattan law firm associate auctioned himself off to the highest bidder... MORE
For Employers
Legal Authority's Comprehensive Employee Outplacement Program.
Give your attorneys the most opportunities. MORE
Our Database and Technology
Legal Authority's Comprehensive Database and Advanced
Search Engine.
 MORE
National Advertisement
Legal Authority and National Media
Take a sneak peek at the marketing strategies of Legal Authority. MORE
Get the best legal jobs through Legal Authority.
Click here to understand the simple process and utilize our services to the maximum.
Download Now
Get on Track
Get on Track
Legal Authority Core Values
How Do You Work With Employer Data at Legal...
Why Legal Authority Works: Myth versus Reality
What Legal Authority Does
Legal Authority and Law Students
What Is Legal Authority?
Using Legal Authority for Law Student Jobs
Legal Authority Works!
Legal Authority Is a Great Way for Law Students...
What Legal Authority Does For You
Choose Legal Authority
Choose Legal Authority for Your Job Search
Legal Authority Outplacement Program
Legal Authority Is the Smartest Way for Law Students to Find Jobs. Period.
If You Can Register on Legal Authority You Can Get a Legal Job
Why Legal Authority Will Transform You and Your Career
Do Not Let Your School Control the Recruiting Process
Who Can Legal Authority Help
Legal Authority Is Not for Everyone
An Advocate for Attorneys and Law Students to Get Jobs
What Legal Authority Does Works
Why I Started Legal Authority
Some Things You Probably Did Not Know about Legal Authority
Legal Authority Can Get You Your Next Law Firm Job
On-Campus Interviewing or Legal Authority
How Legal Authority Started: You Need to Have Desire to Achieve Your Goals
Legal Authority Works for Law Students
Legal Authority assists more attorneys and law students, at more law schools, get jobs than any other source.
From the Legal Authority Blog
The Practice of Law: To Stay or Go
+ Click here to read more
The Story Doesn’t End There
+ Click here to read more
Will an LL.M. help my legal career
+ Click here to read more
Request More Info
Learn more about Legal Authority
First Name:*
Email Address:*
Phone Number:*







FOUNDER HARRISON BARNES' BLOG

SIGN UP  |   HOME  |   ABOUT US  |   FAQ  |   CONTACT US  |   HISTORY  |   REVIEWS  |   TELL A FRIEND  |   LEGAL SPECIALTY AREAS  |   PRESS ROOM
LEGAL AUTHORITY JOB SEARCH TIPS  |   SITE MAP  |   SEE WHY LEGAL AUTHORITY IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO FIND A LEGAL JOB  |   TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP  |   PRIVACY POLICY
DAILY JOB SEARCH ADVICE  |   DAILY JOB SEARCH VIDEO  |   FOXES AND HEDGEHOGS  |   OUR SITES
© 2019 LEGAL AUTHORITY INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.