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How To Answer "Tell Me About Yourself"

Impress your interviewer and get the job.

BY Mercy Kipchilat

Apr 07, 2023, 08:20 AM

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We’ve all been there; smartly dressed, all nervous and sweaty, seated in front of the people who will determine whether you'll get the job or not. After a friendly greeting, the interview begins and they ask you to tell them about yourself. Suddenly, your tongue becomes heavy, your mouth too dry, and for some reason, you forget who you really are.

"Tell me about yourself" is often the first question asked in job interviews, and it can be a tricky one to answer. While the question may seem simple and straightforward, it can be difficult to know what to say without sounding either boastful or unprepared. 

However, with a bit of preparation and practice, you can provide a strong and memorable response to this question and wow the interviewer.

The following tips will help you craft a compelling answer to "Tell me about yourself":

Keep It Brief.

The interviewer does not want to know about your life story, so keep your response concise and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to give your answer in no more than two minutes. 

You can start with a brief overview of what you currently do and some of your recent big achievements. Next, you can talk about your past experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for and finally talk about what you hope to accomplish in your career in future.

Tailor Your Answer To Match The Job You Are Applying For.

When answering "Tell me about yourself," focus on highlighting your relevant work experience and skills. Think about what makes you unique and how your experience aligns with the requirements of the position you're interviewing for. 

For example, if you're interviewing for a sales role, talk about your experience in sales, such as your ability to create a winning sales pitch as well as some of the sales goals you were able to meet in your previous post.

Avoid Sharing Personal Information.

While mentioning a few personal details, such as hobbies or interests, is okay, it is important to avoid oversharing personal information.

Try to stick to professional information that is relevant to the job you're applying for unless, of course, the interviewer asks specific questions about your personal life.

Don’t Ramble.

A common mistake that many interviewees often commit when asked to talk about themselves is talking at length in an inconsequential way, also known as rambling.

Try to relax and compose yourself before the interview begins so that you don’t find yourself rambling on and sounding unprepared.

Additionally, avoid cramming your responses before the interview and let your answers flow naturally like a conversation style.

Practise Your Response.

Another way to ace the "tell me about yourself" question is to practise ahead of the interview, so you feel confident when it comes to answering the question in the interview. 

You can practise in front of a mirror, a video recording, or with a friend if you are confident enough. Don’t forget to time yourself to make sure you're keeping your answer brief.

Be Positive.

When talking about yourself to the interviewer, be positive and enthusiastic. Talk about your achievements and successes, and show your passion for your work. 

Since this is the first impression you will make on the interviewer, make sure you portray yourself in the best light.

This will help you to stand out from other candidates and possibly convince the interviewer that you are the best fit for their company.

Sample Response.

Here is a sample answer to the question,  “tell me about yourself” for someone applying for a job in finance.

"Sure. My name is Anne, and I have been working in the finance industry for the past five years. I graduated from XYZ University with a degree in Finance and Accounting. In my current role as a financial analyst at ABC Company, I have gained expertise in analysing financial data, creating financial models, and presenting financial reports to management. I am excited to use my skills and experience to contribute to the success of your company."