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Interview Tips: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”  

As a job seeker, you have probably encountered the question, “Tell me about yourself?” in an interview. Although it may seem easy to answer initially, many people need help with this question. In today’s blog, we will be sharing tips on how to master the art of answering “Tell me about yourself” effectively. 

How To Approach Your Answer

When an interviewer asks the question, “Tell Me About Yourself,” they are typically interested in learning more about you beyond your resume, whether that be personally, professionally, or both. Understanding what they are looking for is crucial, rather than launching into a lengthy life story that may not be relevant. To achieve this, you can follow up their question by seeking clarification: “What would you like to know? Would you prefer hearing about my personal story, professional journey, or both?” This approach serves two purposes: first, it allows you to compose yourself and avoid rushing through the interview, making it particularly beneficial for those who feel hurried during such situations. Secondly, this question positions you to precisely provide the information they desire to hear, increasing your chances of making a favorable impression.

How can you anticipate their questions? As mentioned earlier, interviewers are usually intrigued by one of two things: the story behind your resume (your professional story), the story beyond your resume (your personal story), or possibly both. We strongly recommend preparing for all potential scenarios to maximize your chances of success.

How to Prepare

Before the interview, it’s beneficial to create an outline with key points to include and then practice. While the templates and examples provided (below) serve as guidelines, infusing your stories with unique and captivating elements is crucial. By incorporating key points that highlight your individuality, work ethic, and competence, you can convince the interviewer that you are an exceptional candidate for their team.

Your Professional Story Behind Your Resume

If your interviewer is looking for your professional story, there are certain key points you should be sure to include. You should discuss your education history, briefly overview your work history, and include any outstanding accomplishments you achieved during your time in the workforce. Continue to tailor your story to the job description for the position you are interviewing for. Ensure you wrap up your answer by elaborating on how your background makes you a suitable candidate for the role.

Practice Template: I began my professional career as a/an {insert role} in {year}. Since then, I have taken on roles with increasing responsibility and complexity. In the past {number} years, I have been working in {field/industry}, mainly focusing on {specific area of expertise or skillset}.

My most recent role was as a {insert role} at {company name}. I was responsible for {roles and responsibilities} and successfully achieved {accomplishments, results, or awards}. Prior to that, I have held positions as a {insert role}, where I developed my skills in areas such as {detail-specific skill set/expertise}. I am confident in my ability to bring valuable experience and knowledge to any new role.

Overall, my experience in {field/industry} has helped me develop a strong understanding of the {specific skill set/expertise}, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills. I am excited to apply these abilities in a new role and continue to grow professionally.

Your Personal Story Beyond Your Resume

On the other hand, if your interviewer wants to learn more about your personal history, there is a fine line between what you should and should not include in your response. Give a brief background of where you’re from and any brief information about your family you’d like to share. Additionally, be sure to still touch on your educational history. Include any clubs, extracurriculars, sports, or volunteer work you did while in or out of school and where you found your passion for the subject you are interviewing. On top of those pieces, give a brief overview of your personal values and interests, such as books, films, or other activities you enjoy outside of work.

Practice Template: I was born and raised in the small town of ____________, where I attended high school. Growing up, my family instilled a strong work ethic in me, which has helped to drive my success today. After graduating from high school, I pursued a degree in ___________ at _______________ University. During this time, I participated in various activities that allowed me to gain valuable skills and experience, including _________________________.

After graduating from college, I moved to __________ where I secured a full-time position in the field of ___________________. Working in this role allowed me to further hone my professional skills, as well as gain valuable insights into the industry. Aside from work, I’m passionate about____ and ______, and often spend my free time pursuing these interests. I’m also a firm believer in giving back to the community, and regularly volunteer with _____________.

Overall, I’m proud of my accomplishments so far and excited about what the future holds. As an individual, I’m driven by a desire to learn more, take on new challenges, and strive for excellence in everything I do. My personal history outside of work has helped to lay the foundation for my professional success, and I’m always looking for new ways to expand my knowledge and grow as a person.

Your Story Both Behind and Beyond Your Resume

If your interviewer responds to your follow-up question and tells you to answer the question as you best see fit, it is important to have an answer combined with those previously mentioned answers into one summary. Below we’ve laid out an outline of how to structure that answer to achieve what your interviewer is looking for.

Start with a personal introduction, including your name, where you’re from, your education, work experience or even career goals. Then, elaborate on some significant achievements and responsibilities you held in any former positions and tailor it towards the job description of the job you’re interviewing for. Next, add a personal anecdote to connect with your interviewer, such as a hobby or personal accomplishment that aligns with the company’s values. Finally, express why you’re interested in the role. Ensure that you’ve researched the company and read through the job description to show your enthusiasm for the job.

Practice Template: My name is {name}, I’m from {where you’re from}. I graduated from {college/university} with a degree in {major}. I have extensive experience working as an {position(s)}, having held various positions at several companies across the United States. In these roles, I’ve successfully developed {skills} and {tasks/responsibilities} efficiently. In my free time, I enjoy {volunteering} and {hobby or passion}. I’m passionate about these because {why you’re passionate} and take great pride in the work that I do. I am excited about this opportunity because it aligns perfectly with my skillset and experience. After reading the job description and researching your company, I’m confident that my expertise in {field of work} will help to contribute to the growth of your business.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “Tell Me About Yourself”?

Aside from simply easing you into the interview, your response to this question is crucial to an interviewer. It shows them how you handle open-ended questions and allows them to see the person behind the resume. It also makes the interview feel more like a conversation, which can be very telling to gauge if you’re a good fit for the role.

The trick to knowing how to answer the question is that you’re not actually telling them about yourself – you’re telling them about your work history while simultaneously incorporating your personality into the answer. It’s a way for your interviewer to evaluate your confidence and get a pulse on your goals and priorities.

Mastering the art of answering “Tell me about yourself” can be quite challenging. However, by following our tips, you can nail this question effectively. Remember to keep your response concise, relevant, and engaging. Highlight your achievements, applicable experience, and skills while adding a personal touch. Lastly, express your enthusiasm for the job and what you can bring to the company. With these tips, you can impress any interviewer and land your dream job!

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