In the recording I posted yesterday, you heard me ask a transitioning military office the ice breaker question that kicks off most interviews – "Tell me about yourself."
The answer included the officer’s military career in chronological order and concluded with some information about hobbies.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad answer and is typical of a lot of job seekers. There were several areas where this could be improved.
First, the individual focused on the career stops they made, and not the overall progression. For example, the listing of the locations of their postings didn’t help the answer. This information is on the resume. There’s no need to repeat.
Second, the individual listed very little in the way of accomplishments. When you start an interview, you should discuss some of the high points of your career.
Third, the individual didn’t discuss the reason he transitioned from Infantry to Strategic Plans. This would have a great talking point. A lot of job seekers fail to discuss why they made important career moves. Explaining the motivation behind their career moves gives a great opportunity to highlight skills and abilities. For example, this individual might have said something like this:
"I really enjoyed serving as an infantry officer was able to develop my leadership skills in this role. Despite this, I had a significant desire to utilize my analytical skills in a more strategic role. Moving into Strategic Plans allowed me to focus on developing these skills. In particular, I was successful at… <insert short description of an accomplishment> …This experience helped me become a much more well rounded leader."
My example sheds some light on what motivates and interests the individual, it highlights a couple skills and it provides a specific accomplishment.
Fourth, the discussion of hobbies did nothing for the answer. In a short answer like this, you only have a few minutes to discuss your entire career. You should not run out of professional information to discuss in that time.