Let’s conquer the “Tell me about yourself” interview question!
Picture this: You finally get the call for the interview, accept the time and date, and double-check the address. You find your interview “ Dress For Success” outfit, get to the place a little early, and try not to look anxious while waiting. The hiring manager comes out and you remember to smile, give a strong handshake, and sit in the office. Then it happens. The hiring manager holds your resume and looks over at you. You know it’s coming. “Tell me about yourself.”
“Tell Me About Yourself” Variations
This question actually means:
- Please talk about your professional career as a whole.
- How did you get into this industry and where do you want to go?
- Why are you in this industry?
- Why are you a good fit for this company?
So that is the question you should answer!
Keep it Short and Professional
Do not use this time to explain why you were fired, why your last boss was awful, how long you were married, how many children you have, or anything else personal. This isn’t about your personal hobbies, personal life, or anything personal at all. This includes not saying your religious or political views or any other personal leanings. You’re a professional!
What the Hiring Manager Really Wants to Know
Explain why you’re in the field – do you have a special skill or talent that you bring to it? What resonates with you about the work? Do you have any impressive accomplishments? Why are you interested in the role you’re interviewing for?
After all, you didn’t accidentally apply for this position and then come to this interview. You did this on purpose, so explain why. If you’re just starting out or if the job in entry-level, you can explain why you want to work in this industry and how the company really seems to be at the forefront of the industry.
A “Tell Me About Yourself” Personalized Script in 3 Steps
Start with your past experiences and proven success, mention your strengths that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, and end with a statement about your current situation. We’re prepared some example sentences, but really it’s the main points of reason you’re in the industry, your strengths, and your future. Ready? Three sentences:
What’s the Reason for Being in This Industry
- I’ve been in this industry for ___ years and originally got into it because I wanted to work where I could _________ (connect with people, be on the cutting edge of technology, make a difference in the community, etc.)
- I’ve just started in this industry and I really want to work with ______ (company name) because of the results you get with _______ (something the company does well).
- After graduating with my degree in _______ and I thought working here would be a great way to get some experience under my belt.
- As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved ______ (working creatively, building intricate things, etc.) since I first _______ (took a graphic design class, took apart my dad’s computer, learned how to fix a car, etc.)
- I’ve found that my strength is my ______ (attention to detail, integrity, etc.) and I like putting it into action.
- I really enjoy _______ (being creative, making customers happy, working as part of a team,) and this position sounded like a great opportunity for me to do that.
- After _________ (getting my degree, earning a certificate, landing my first design contract,), I learned that I really wanted to be focusing on that full time.
Conclude With Statement About Your Current Career Situation/ Future Goals
- What I’m looking for is a company that values __________ (creativity, customer relations, etc.) and I can join a strong team and have a positive effect on ________ (community, science, etc.)
- I want to be able to contribute to a company that is at the forefront of ________ (industry type here) and this looks like the place to do it.
Alternative “Tell Me About Yourself” 3 Step Formula:
Here’s another easy system to answer the question, just in case you’d like an alternative:
- Present: what you’re doing now, explain the position, mention your latest success if it’s relevant to the position.
- Past: explain how you got to that position and any previous relevant experience
- Future: Relate that to how that relates to the position you’re applying for, and how you’d be a great fit for this position.
Key Points For Answering Like A Pro
- Why you got into this line of work
- Your industry successes
- Future career goals
Look at how fast your three-sentence elevator script came together! Be sure to tweak it anyway you can to apply it to the position and you’ll be all set. Worried about other interview questions? Check out our answers here: