How to Ace the Interview Icebreaker

Don't freeze when you hear "So, tell me about yourself" at your next job interview. The Public Speaker has tips on how to have a straightforward 3-minute response ready in response to this leading question

Lisa B. Marshall
2-minute read

How to Ace the Interview Icebreaker


Most interviews start with “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” This traditional question is meant to be an easy icebreaker, but many people struggle with it. Your response should be no longer than 3 minutes and should include your “ex” factors. That’s “e-x” for experience, expertise, and excellence.

First, provide a high-level summary of your most relevant work history and education. Then give a summary of specific past achievements that are related to the needs of this organization. And finally, wrap up by describing skills or traits that make you who you are.

Here’s a brief example, “I’ve been a help desk manager for 5 years and I’m also a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I have a strong track record of retaining top quality employees and, in fact, I reduced turnover by 10% in my last two positions. I thrive in the fast pace of the IT environment and enjoy the challenge of effectively communicating to both non-technical and technical people.”

Notice how the “ex” factors, (again that’s your experience, expertise, and excellence) together make up your unique selling proposition. There's no better was to start (or end) your next job interview.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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