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How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself"—Sample Answers

First impressions are the ones that stick, especially at interviews. This guide will teach you how to nail the “Tell me about yourself” interview question, so you look your best.

Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra Makal
Career Expert
How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself"—Sample Answers

Abstract: "Tell me about yourself" is one of the most frequently asked interview questions. In most cases, by asking this question, recruiters want to break the ice and learn more about you and your professional background. A clear and concise response proves your ability to communicate clearly and effectively, so make sure to talk about how your experience is pertinent to the role you’re applying for.

The struggle is real.

 

After passing the first stage of the recruitment process, you’re now ready to tackle the first round of interviews.

 

You know that each and every one of them will start with the oh-so-dire “Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself?”

 

If you’re like most candidates, your head will simply go blank after hearing it.

 

So get ahead of them this time, and find out how to prepare yourself to answer this common interview question.

 

In this article:

 

  • How to answer “Tell me about yourself” in an interview.
  • Why recruiters like to ask the “Tell me about yourself” interview question at the beginning of every interview.
  • “Tell me about yourself” sample answers to help you plan your response. 

 

Get ready for your interview

If only you could have a practice run of your next job interview...

With us, you can. Find out exactly how to answer the toughest interview questions. Practice your responses until you're sure they're perfect. Find your confidence, ace your interview, and land your dream job!

Get ready for your interview

 

Looking for more interview advice? Check these out: 

 

 

Don’t have a resume yet? Check these resume writing guides to land more job interviews:

 

 

“Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

 

This seemingly innocent question is in fact is one of the trickiest questions to answer during an interview. 

 

Why?

 

Because open-ended questions give the opportunity and space to reply in as much detail as possible, which can be intimidating.

 

However, it’s a great chance for you to present yourself in the best possible light by giving the company what it wants to hear: an impactful personal statement that gets them excited about the prospect of working with you.

 

Many recruiters tend to ask this question at the beginning of the interview simply to cut the first turf and start the conversation. 

 

But that’s not what happens in the head of the interviewee. 

 

Moat candidates get really stressed when asked open-ended questions like this, as they are not able to predict what answer the recruiter wants to hear, and they start to panic and lose their confidence. 

 

As a result, instead of giving the recruiter specifics and a good "pitch", they begin to tell long, unnecessary stories about their dog and their lactose intolerance.

 

So, what is the perfect answer, then?

 

“Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question—Sample Answers

 

The way you answer even the simple "Tell us something about yourself" question can be crucial to your hiring success. The only way that your answer can convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate is if you make it appealing. 

 

Here are some examples of “Tell me about yourself” best answers that might give you a better idea of what interviewers like to hear:

RIGHT ANSWER

My name is Tina Biddle, and I have a Master’s degree in Economy. For the past 5 years I’ve worked for one of the most renowned international corporations and dealt with the planning of large investments. I profiled and analyzed investment products to develop customized financial strategies for clients' financial needs, which in result generated new client business of $6 million in potential new assets. I am looking forward to putting my management and organization skills to the test at Inova Health Systems.

As you can see, Tina gives a brief run-down of her relevant experience, all while highlighting measurable achievements. She ends her answer on an offer to achieve the same impressive results for the new employer, giving the interviewer a clear reason to hire her. 

RIGHT ANSWER

My name is Lynn Gonzalez, I’m 33 years old, and I am very excited to be here. I became interested in project management while studying Business Administration at the University of Illinois. Since then, I have gained experience as a member of project teams at three companies in various industries. I was mostly responsible for operations and strategy implementation, as well as controlling and creating risk analyses. In my last job, I had the opportunity to temporarily replace the project manager and gain my first experience in a managerial role. I found that my strengths lie in both managing project teams and leading projects. That’s when I decided that the next step in my career is to become a project manager, which is why I applied to your company.

Lynn also provides a summary of her relevant professional experience, supplementing it with an explanation of why she applied for this particular role. By showing the interviewer how this job fits into her broader career plan, Lynn makes it clear that this is an important opportunity for her: she’s in for the long run, and unlikely to quit after a few months.  

RIGHT ANSWER

I am a final-year student pursuing an MA in Economics, but at the same time I am working in a marketing agency. Prior to that, I did an internship at a large corporation, where I improved my analytical skills. However, I decided that I wanted to focus on marketing instead of finances, which is why I am applying for a job with your company. I believe that my skills will make me a valuable asset to your team. It will also give me a great opportunity to develop excellent leadership skills and the ability to maintain composure in stressful and uncertain situations.

Again, this answer puts the focus on the candidate’s motivation and their determination to succeed in this role. This means they’re likely to stay with the company for longer, which, given the cost of replacing employees and dealing with high turnover, is definitely something the interviewer is looking for. 

 

How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

 

There are many rules to follow when being interviewed for a job. 

 

Apart from looking sharp and being on time, you also have to be well-prepared and make the best first impression.

 

The best way to answer “Tell Me About Yourself” is by following this formula:

 

  1. Summarize your career history, by including the most important positions and jobs,
  2. Describe several of your most prominent career achievements,
  3. End your statement with a description of your career goals.

 

So

 

At the beginning, really think about what you want the recruiter to know about you. 

 

Read your resume once again, and select the pieces of information that will make you stand out in the eyes of the employer. 

 

But remember

 

Your statement should be on point, concise, and no longer than two minutes. 

 

Make it fresh and interesting by giving vivid details, and using (appropriate!) humor.

 

These 5 tips will help you prepare the perfect answer:

 

1. Introduce Yourself

 

Think about who you are and how you want to justify your choice of career path. You can also mention what made you choose this particular industry. What interests you most about this job? Remember that the recruiter only wants to know the information that is relevant to the position you are applying for. Make it short and sweet.

RIGHT

I am 24 years old, I’m a nursing student at the University of Miami, and I am particularly interested in critical care medicine.

2. Tell a Story About Yourself 

 

In a few words, tell them why you are interested in this specific professional field and what influenced your choice of this particular industry. The recruiter will want to know if you can concentrate on key information and if you can prioritize information by describing the most important events and leaving out what’s less important. 

RIGHT

My first contact with health care was when I volunteered in a clinic as a high school student. I acquainted myself with patients and their families during their stay in ICU. I feel that this experience was key to my career development, as I learned that good health care makes a difference in people’s lives.

3. Briefly Talk About Your Education

 

What academic experience do you have? Give a rundown of what courses, seminars, workshops, academic or research projects helped you to acquire expertise in the industry. Are you planning to continue your education? 

RIGHT

I performed an eight-week clinical practice in the different units of Jackson Memorial Hospital. While working in ER and ICU, I had to talk to patients to alleviate anxiety, and help the staff with different tasks. I communicated with doctors about patient conditions and listened to instructions on how to provide treatment. I have been praised for my performance by the Ward Director, and it planted a motivation to become an ICU nurse. 

Expert Hint: If you don’t have any work experience yet, mainly focus on your education—majors, degrees, academic awards, relevant coursework, projects, extracurricular activities, internships, or volunteer work and try to provide examples that will show how much education has prepared you for work in a given profession. 

4. Mention Other Related Experiences

 

Choose one or two examples of other related experiences that have helped you develop your skills. Consider things like internships, research projects, previous jobs (even part-time or summer jobs) or leadership positions.

RIGHT

Additionally, during my first two years of study, I worked as a part-time medical receptionist at a local doctor’s office in Hialeah. I managed the calendars of 8 physicians of different specializations: pediatricians, family doctors, ophthalmologists, and internists. For 7 months straight, I maintained a 95% patient satisfaction rate based on customer service surveys.

5. Finish Strong By Telling Them What They Will Gain From Having You in the Role

 

Which specific work experiences will help you best fit into the company structure? What values can you bring with you to the new organization? How did your professional history, acquired skills and education make you the perfect fit for the position? 

RIGHT

With my solid educational background and expertise in patient care and supporting critical care units by collaborating across diverse medical teams, I am confident that I can greatly contribute to your hospital in this role. 

It is important to really prepare, think about what you want to say, and learn it. However, avoid memorizing every word, as they can sound canned. The first impression is the most important one, so present yourself to the employer in the most casual yet professional way possible.

Expert Hint: To create a successful introduction, learn more about the concept of an elevator pitch, which will provide your interviewer with a solid idea of who you are as a person and what you have to offer in a short amount of time.

What Is a Good Way to Prepare for the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

First, make a list of your strengths. Think professional and non-professional achievements that you are particularly proud of and which will prove your additional skills. 

 

Then, match them with the employer's job description requirements, which can be found in the job posting. 

 

For example, if the ad mentions leadership skills as desirable, and one of your achievements is succeeding in the role of a team leader, that’s definitely something to mention. 

 

Can’t find this information in the ad?

 

You can always search the Internet for a specific job title and check the description online, or even refer to the employer's website, where you can find more interesting information that can help you prepare for this question and the job interview in general. There are plenty of benefits to researching your potential employer before the interview, so that’s not a step you can skip either way! 

 

How Should Candidates With No Experience Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

 

Anyone who had just graduated from college, especially after studying full-time, doesn’t have specific work experience, because they simply didn't have the time for it. 

 

How should candidates with no professional experience answer this question, then? 

 

The best solution is to simply focus on the experience you do have—your education. 

 

Before you go to the interview, read the job offer once again and think about which degree, course, or project you completed matches any of the skills described in the job advertisement. What academic activities might impress the potential employer? 

 

Make sure to mention any scientific research you have done where theoretical knowledge has been applied in practice, as well as part-time jobs you’ve had during college, even if they weren’t directly related to the career you are now seeking. Talk about the soft skills you've acquired on the job. 

 

Always remember that every experience you gain shapes your personality and is valuable.

 

You just have to present it from the right point of view.

 

Key Skills

 

How to answer the “Tell me about yourself” interview question:

 

  • Prepare short answers where you summarize your experiences, but don’t memorize them! Make sure you only present relevant information that can be related to the job you are applying for. 
  • Make your answer short. When preparing for the interview, time yourself to see how long your answers are. The ideal time frame is about 2-3 minutes.
  • Highlight your strengths and accomplishments, but avoid bragging. 

 

Thanks for reading! Still not sure how to answer “Tell me about yourself”? Have some tips of your own to offer on best answers to this question? Let us know in the comments, we’re ready to chat!

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Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra is a career expert with a solid professional background in various industries. At ResumeLab, she shares her knowledge, insights and expertise with all applicants looking to make a career move with a perfect resume and cover letter that guarantee recognition and success.

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