"Tell Me About Yourself": How To Impress With Your Answer At A Job Interview

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Tip: Don't begin with "what do you want to know?"

Why does such a simple question make us so nervous? Perhaps because "tell me about yourself" is so open-ended, it's hard to figure out just how much you want to share.

You want to build rapport with your interviewer, but also show that you're the perfect candidate for the job. But how exactly do you do that?

Before you can answer this question in the best way possible, it's important to understand why exactly the interviewer is asking it. When they say, "tell me about yourself", they're probably not interested in your cookie butter addiction or what you like watching on Netflix.

What is your interviewer really asking?

Your interviewer wants to get a sense of what you're like as a professional. They want to know if you'll be a good fit in their company or not. And the open-endedness of this question lets them gauge your critical thinking skills. It allows them to see what you think is relevant information and experience for this job.

Answering "Tell me about yourself" with the Present-Past-Future Formula

The Muse founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew recommends a Present-Past-Future formula. This entails:

  1. Present: Starting with what you're doing right now
  2. Past: Make a segue into your past experiences
  3. Future: Why you're applying for this job

Simple, right?

But keep in mind that you don't want to just parrot whatever's already on your resume. Instead, think of concrete experiences relevant to the job you're applying for that you can talk about. Think of situations that illustrate your strengths, and tell those stories.

For example, you could say something like:

"I've been working in advertising for the past two years, working with two different major cosmetic brands. My first jobs were in retail, and I really enjoyed dealing with customers on a face-to-face basis. That's why I'm so excited about transitioning to public relations and joining your firm."

Though your interviewer might not ask you this question, it's always best to be prepared. Craft an answer and practice it so you know your pitch inside-out.

While you come up with your answer to the prompt "tell me about yourself", keep the company's needs in mind. What are they looking for and how can you best illustrate that you're the perfect person for the job? Once you've got a clear idea of that, all you need to do now is smile, put your shoulders back, and communicate.


We hope this article on how to answer the question "tell me about yourself" was helpful! Good luck on your job hunt!

Here are some other articles that you might find useful:

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What To Write In Your Resume If You Don't Have Any Experience: 6 Do’s And Dont’s