The opening gambit of most interviews is the well known question “tell us about yourself.” Your answer to that question sets the tone for everything that follows. Will you begin with a stutter or make a warm, confident first impression?

Despite the predictability of this question, many applicants fail to prepare a thoughtful, succinct answer. Don’t be left reaching or rambling. Craft an answer that integrates the following elements:

1. Competitive advantage. Begin with what you bring to this position that others don’t. There will be many similarities between their applicants. Stand out by noting what makes you unique. 

2. Experience. Touch briefly on your skills and experience. This is a highlight reel, not a recitation of your résumé. If they want to read your CV, they will. Your job is to orient them to what is relevant to this position. 

3. Values. Close by explaining the values that drive and inform your work. This enables you to connect your priorities and passion with their mission and values.