Let’s face it, interviews are stressful for both parties involved. And first impressions matter too. In some cases, a first impression can absolutely seal the deal – or end up in rejection.
You’re expected to speak for yourself, answer questions, and impress a panel of strangers. But interviewers often start with some simple icebreaker questions. The first of these is a tried-and-true favorite many people dread: “Tell me about yourself.”
Once you’ve got a basic understanding of why your interviewer might ask you this question, it then becomes more precise about how to answer it. Most people will give you the general advice to talk about three things: your experience, your education, and why you want the job. However, you should be thinking about four main things when attempting to answer this question:
- Who you are.
- What you’re good at.
- Why this job in front of you is excellent.
- How it fits into your future goals.
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Here are some tips for Tell me about yourself
The hardest part of answering this question for many people is figuring out how exactly to structure your answer. There are a ton of potential answers, so deciding what’s most relevant can be difficult. Plus, the more exciting and engaging the answer, the better chance that people will remember it and take action on it.
Keep it brief and professional
You want to keep it short and sweet, but also discuss the most important details. Recruiters typically only have about 2-5 minutes to talk to you, so you want to make sure that your answers give them a clear picture of who you are. So skip the kindergarten story, high school, and college years. Instead, focus on your main selling points that are relevant for the job.
Focus on three things:
- It would be best if you talked about your most recent achievement, a relevant quality you have, or a qualification that is directly relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- You can mention other work you’ve done previously that demonstrates your skills.
- Tell them about where you want your career to go, how you plan to achieve that goal, and the skills you think will help the most.
Here’s the sample answer for Tell me about yourself
“I am passionate about journalism and possess a keen eye for news. I work well under pressure and can quickly adapt to the requirements of a breaking story. My work has been widely recognized, including winning an award in an internship program at [a well-known organization]. Aspiring to achieve a holistic understanding of the internet and content marketing, I am interested in learning new skills. Additionally, I have strong writing abilities and am interested in contributing to a company where I feel my skills can help push the digital marketing industry forward.”
Practice, But Don’t Memorize
The best way to do this is by preparing for the interview beforehand and writing a small script that contains your main selling points. When you’re in the moment, it can be hard to remember everything you want to talk about, which will help you keep on track and mention essential things. Practice your answer just like you would practice a speech. Practice in front of friends and family members, but make sure not to memorize your answer. You should remember what your key points are and focus on those.
Instead of memorizing the specific details, you should come up with a rough outline of what you want to say. It’s always better to avoid memorizing specifics and instead use structure to structure your ideas.
Know Your Audience
Consider the position of the person you’re speaking to. Is it the HR? Business manager? CEO? Knowing your audience allows you to tailor your message to their needs. This can help build trust and communicate more effectively.
- To the hiring manager, you should focus on why you are a strong candidate.
- To the CTO, the right way to do this is to indicate that you have experience in the technologies they are looking for.
- To the CMO, you should go into detail about your marketing skills, so they know that you will be able to bring value to their company.
Tell Me About Yourself Sample Answers
For experienced professionals
I’m excited to learn more about this opportunity. My name is Chance. I’m a project manager with five years of experience working at Company X. I have a degree in Business administration from University X, where I earned my associate’s in computer science. My experience ranges from administrative assistant work to senior-level project management positions, including budgets for up to $250k. As a member of the executive team, I handled interdepartmental communication and helped with management scheduling. In addition, I maintained the digital filing system.
For the last six years, I have been working as a project manager for Company Y. There, I managed a team that applied cloud computing solutions. In my free time, I enjoy reading about artificial intelligence, technology, and robotics. Based on these skills, I am sure (the company you are applying for) can provide me with a challenging work environment.
For college graduates and freshers
My name is XXX, and I recently graduated from University X with a B.A. in business administration, communication, and marketing. I also volunteered on the student council, where I led many projects and fundraisers for the university, which earned me several awards. And I maintained a GPA of 3.6 throughout my studies as well.
I’m an energetic recent graduate looking for a challenging position to apply my knowledge and experience to solve real problems. My academic record demonstrates my ability to work under pressure and consistently achieve high grades. I’ve gained extensive knowledge in my areas of study and acquired practical skills through coursework. Now I want to apply those skills in a real business environment. I’m looking to put my skills into practice through an internship with a company like yours.
For University Admission
My name is John. I am a senior at XYZ High School, where I was the President of my class. As a sophomore, I was awarded the “Scholar on the Rise” award for maintaining an 80% GPA despite various extracurricular activities. I started a ‘John Steinbeck Book Club’ with 18 members as of now, and one of my most significant projects was launching a recycling program for the campus—this project got a ton of attention on campus as well as the community.
I am a team player and am committed to finishing all tasks before the deadline. Challenges don’t defeat me but motivate me to work harder and prove that I can overcome any obstacle. I often meet with teachers or subject matter experts outside of class to get help with areas that aren’t clicking. In particular, I met with a math teacher last year because I was having trouble grasping the fundamentals of trigonometry. This strategy helped me to improve and ace my trig test in May. I scored an A- eventually.
I plan on studying English or Journalism at University X. I’m very interested in writing and reading, so I think both programs will be a good fit for my interests.
Some Interview Tips:
Here are a small number of interview tips to keep in mind when answering “Tell me about yourself.”
- Before the interview, find out all you can about the company. Research the mission statement and vision statement to see if they match what you are looking for. Study the employee reviews to see how people feel about working there. Review any job descriptions posted by recruiters to help you prepare for the job interview questions.
- Check social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for insight into the work culture, paying attention to pictures of employees in the office, office locations, or significant events hosting celebrities.
- The best way to prepare for an interview is to go through the same preparation you would put into a practice run-through of your interview answers. Make sure you keep extra copies of your resume, pen, and notebook at the ready just in case you need them.
- And as for the outfit, make sure it’s clean and pressed so that it helps you present a professional appearance. And as for the outfit, make sure it’s clean and pressed so that it enables you to present a professional appearance.
The most important aspect is making sure you include relevant details. Avoid rambling by staying on target for each answer. It’s not a good idea to go into too much detail with each response because sometimes less is more. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while answering – tell me about yourself.
Don’t get caught rambling. In particular, don’t give too much unnecessary detail that doesn’t add to the overall impression of your case. The past-present-future format dictates how you tell your story. Be sure to start with how the present situation came to be, then go back in time to explain how it all started, and finish by touching on how things are today.