It’s one of the most awkward questions in job interviews and life: “So tell me about yourself”. How do you encapsulate all that you are into a few sentences? This is one of the many interview questions that recruiters expect you to be prepared for .  But it’s amazing how many people don’t have a good answer. Worse are those job candidates who are tell me one thing but my impression is totally different. Maybe they are telling me what they think I want to hear or maybe they are unaware of how other people perceive them.

Regardless of the reason it’s not a good strategy for interview success. To find out what other people think about you - it’s simple ask them. Ask people who know you to describe you in three words. Use the feedback to make a compelling value proposition on your resume and in job interviews. If you want an email template, you can download one the bottom of this page.

Your Personal Brand is Fundamental to Your Career

Your Personal Brand is Fundamental to Your Career Jpeg

When I work with people to make powerful resumes and compelling interview skills, I keep on coming back to the same fundamental principle. The job search is about knowing and communicating your own personal brand. If you, like many others, aren’t sure what jobs you should apply for, the answer to this question is in your personal brand. Changing industries? Again define your personal brand and match transferrable skills to jobs.

Important for Self Leadership Too

Knowing yourself is a uncommon but powerful tool for life success and happiness. Self leadership requires self awareness. Another great way to find out what makes you different to other people is to do a behavior test. This is my story how I use my profile to communicate my strengths and weaknesses.

What to do with your Personal Brand

Your personal brand goes into a Personal Profile statement on your resume. Your Personal Brand is your own unique selling point which is how you sell yourself to other people and recruiters. The people that can clearly explain who they are, what they do and why they are valuable do better in job search. Because they have better CV's, they interview better and they have a better focus on what jobs they are looking for.

Finding What People Think of Your Personal Brand can be a Challenge

Finding what other people think about you is a journey of discovery. You will find differences between how you perceive yourself and what others think. Of course this is sometimes challenging but other times can highlight strengths that you didn't even know you had.

Some people use this to work on themselves because they don't feel that they are perceived the way they want to be. The point of this exercise is to work on your CV and interview skills.

The Difference Between Who we are and What People Think of us

I’ve never run this exercise with clients and not found some surprises - both positive and negative. People are different and we have different experiences. What you think of yourself is different to what people think of you. Wrong or right it’s just a fact of life. It can be a confronting exercise so only do this if you are truly ok to get some direct feedback.

Personal Brand Exercise Process

Send an email asking them to describe you in three words. I suggest sending it to at least twenty people because you'll typically get about a third back. And because it's for work include as many colleagues and ex colleagues as you are comfortable with. Send it individually. Keep it short simple and easy. Give people a week and follow up. Following up usually doubles your response rates. Deadlines help.

Use This to Engage Your Network for Your Job Search

You don't have to tell people you're looking for a job but if you're comfortable then feel free to add: "I don't know if you know that I'm looking to make a job change. So if you have any suggestions it would be nice to hear from you." It's a great excuse to warm your network up because the best jobs come from people that know you.


Finding out what other people think of you is going to help you define and communicate your unique value proposition. This will help you to get the job you want. If want a proven email template then download the template below. Happy job searching.

Suggested Text is:

Hi (NAME),

I'm doing some work on myself for my career and I need an external perspective because I don't know how people perceive me. That's why I'm asking you - because you know me better than most people.

Can you please describe me in three words. Best is to just to hit reply straight away and say what first comes into your head without editing. If I haven't heard back from you in a week I'm going to follow up again. And if you'd rather not do this then I totally understand.

There's no need to explain your words, but feel free to if you feel to do that you want to. It's most helpful if you're honest with me and not worried about hurting my feelings. I'm ready for some frank feedback

Best regards,


Optional Paragraph:

PS: I don't know if you know that I'm looking to make a job change. So if you have any suggestions it would be nice to hear from you


This is part of the Interview Success Series. This series covers how job seekers can get the job they want. This series contains inside information from experienced recruiters.


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