How to answer “Tell me about yourself.”

tell me about yourself

Have you ever entered a job interview and got asked “Tell me about yourself?”

And was this your reaction: Gulp! What do I say? There’s so much about me but where do I begin?!

This is why it’s so important to have your answers prepared in advance. You don’t need to memorise a script – this will make you sound stiff. Instead, you want to have a few points up your sleeve and elaborate from there.

Follow the steps below and practice by yourself or with a friend. You’ll want to sound natural and confident, so it pays to practice. You also want to keep your answer short — not more than two minutes. So time yourself when you practice. Any more than two minutes and your interviewer may lose interest.

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Grammar Lesson: Three types of tenses and how to use them

tenses

Today I want to write about three types of tenses that many (even advanced students) struggle with.

Take a look at the following sentences and pay attention to the tenses:

  1. Simple present tense: As I write this, it is 10:30 am.
  2. Present continuous tense: It is raining here in Kuala Terengganu.
  3. Present perfect continuous tense: It has been raining since this morning.

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Is it too late for me to improve my English?

We hear this all the time. “I’m already <age>. Is it too late for me to improve my English?” Or something along those lines.

People thinking they’re just too old, or it’s too late to do something, to learn something, to improve on something, to start something new.

Just a little over two years ago, Aisya, Azimah and I came up with the idea to help Malaysians with their English. We wanted it to be fun, easy to understand and practical for Malaysians. And we wanted it to be online.

speaking with confidence
Our first Facebook post in 2016.

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How to sound polite in your emails

polite emails

After my post last week about the difference between “Please advise” and “Please advice”, we received a question from a student on how to sound polite in emails.

I’ve personally received emails where the sender sounded rude even when they didn’t mean to. I’ve also sent emails in a rush and only realised they sounded rude after hitting “send”!

This is something that we may struggle with because 1) English is our second language so we may tend to be more direct in writing, and 2) when we write, people can’t hear our tone of voice and may interpret straightforward language as rude or impolite.

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“Please advice” or “Please advise”?

Do you use “Please advice” or “Please advise” in your emails? Well, the correct phrase is actually “Please advise”.

Some grammar experts say that “Please advise” must have an object after the phrase because advise is a transitive verb. But since it’s widely used in our emails, “Please advise” is grammatically accepted. Just take note that some may argue “Please advise” sounds impolite, so try to use it sparingly or check that the content of your email doesn’t come across rude or demanding.

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My experience teaching English to my children…

Today I want to talk about my experience teaching English to my children. I hope this can inspire you to speak English with your children, or even motivate you to improve your own English speaking skills.

Believe it or not, even though we teach English here at MEM, I actually speak in Bahasa Malaysia with my three boys. One of them is almost eight, the second is five and the third is two years old.

english for children

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Confidence is the willingness to try

confidence try

I hope you’re having a great Thursday morning. I recently came across a short video by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker, talking about confidence. She says “Confidence is not a skill. Confidence is the willingness to try.”

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The words we say to ourselves

positive self-talk

The subject of this post is “The words we say to ourselves” because so many of our students write to us saying they have low confidence in speaking English. And I know for a fact that low confidence has a lot to do with what we say to ourselves – whether out loud or in our heads.

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Farewell to our Papa…

We lost our father last week, on Wednesday, 8th August at 9:30 a.m.  Papa had been ill for 21 years but the news still came to us as a shock. Nothing really prepares you for losing a parent.

I had been mulling over what to write this week. I wasn’t sure whether to share the news, or to just write another post with English tips and lessons. But in respect of our father’s passing, I believe that a mention of him would be best. But I’ll keep this brief.

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What does “espionage” mean? (and a few new words to learn)…

Since today is Thursday, it means it’s another English lesson from us! Today, I’m going to be sharing with you some words and phrases you might find helpful to improve your vocabulary.

In most cases, we don’t really need to use a lot of big words in our everyday speaking situation. What’s important is that we are fluent and able to get our message across clearly.  But the more vocabulary we know, the better we can be in expressing ourselves and understanding what we listen to. What’s more, enriching our vocabulary can be a fun way to improve our English listening and speaking skills.

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