“Tell me about yourself.”
This is the dreaded question. I have to prepare to answer this question 5 times. 5 different interviews. Where do I even begin?
I want to stand out from all the other applicants and I want to do this creatively and in a memorable way. However, I fear that there is a very thin line between creative and memorable, and absurd and inappropriate. And to get past the “trying to be creative” part of it, I actually have to come up with something interesting, flattering, and concise about myself.
As someone with low self esteem and an anxiety disorder, I can’t seem to find anything good to say about myself that doesn’t sound like an embellishment – and that makes me nervous. Then I worry that what I think is important to highlight might sound stupid to someone else.
So how do you go about making a speech about yourself? If I had a Wikipedia entry about myself, what would it say? How do I come up with something that is believable and doesn’t make me feel like I’m being disingenuous?
Someone gave me a small piece of advice on this topic: Think of five things you want to tell the interviewers and then fit each of those things into a one or two sentence summary. Then you’ll have your answer. Five things that are important about me… How do I choose?
Early life? Do I talk about where I grew up and how I ended up living where I live? I was born and raised in … and seven year ago we moved to … for my husband to pursuit his education.
Education? These are residency interviews, so obviously, I am working towards a medical degree (we all are, so is it superfluous to talk about it?) Before starting medical school, I obtained a Master’s degree in cellular, molecular, and microbial biology and I worked for two years as a research technician doing basic laboratory research. Upon deciding to pursuit medicine, I returned to school and worked towards a degree in English while updating my prerequisite courses.
Family? How much to I talk about my kids? Obviously, they are a major part of my life so I guess it wouldn’t look good to leave them out… Outside of medicine, I am a mother to two young boys, A. and E.. Motherhood is one of the most rewarding and educational experiences in my life and I believe that raising a family while in medical school has forced me to work hard at maintaining an appropriate work-life balance.
Personality traits? This is probably the hardest part for me. What do I say about myself that doesn’t sound like something everyone else says about themselves? People who know me well would say that I am caring, thoughtful, and that I make other’s needs and interests a priority. I consider myself a hard worker with great attention to detail and I often hold myself up to high expectations.
Future goals? Career choices? Do I start taking about why I’m interested in O&G during this answer, or do I save it all for the “Why are you interested in O&G?” question? How do I summarize my interests in one sentence? My own journey through pregnancy first piqued my interest in O&G. I found myself fascinated with the changes taking place in my body and the baby growing inside of me. This initial interest encouraged me to explore as much as I could about O&G throughout medical school and I have subsequently come to appreciate everything that this specialty has to offer.
Is there something missing here? Is there something that is a little too cheesy? Something that just doesn’t sound right? I don’t feel great about everything I have said and I can’t think of anything else to say instead. I have a feeling that no matter what I come up with, I won’t like it. How can I deliver a confident and well spoken answer to a question when I don’t even believe everything I am saying?