You are qualified for the job and ready to ace an interview. You meet your interviewer, and the first question they ask is, “Tell me about yourself.” You knew this was coming, but you are unsure of what to say and end up ranting.
That is perhaps one of the worst-case scenarios in terms of an interview. But it does not have to be.
Interviews can be nerve-racking and can make you give unclear and long answers. All you need is a bit of guidance and some practice. In this article, we bring you a 3-step guide to answer the infamous question, “Tell me about yourself.” We have also added a few examples of how one can answer this question.
Why does an interviewer ask, “Tell me about yourself”?
To craft your response, you need to understand why this question is relevant in an interview.
The intent of asking, “Tell me about yourself,” is to know the perception you have about your career and yourself.
Context matters, and since you are applying for a job, your answers should be about your career and qualifications. A good thumb rule to follow is to not reveal too much about your personal life unless it matters to the role you have applied.
Moreover, this question acts as an icebreaker. It is the first time the two of you might be talking, so it helps the interviewer ease into a conversation and the more complex and technical parts of the interview. Your response also makes the interviewer ask more questions relevant to the job and your experience.
The interviewer is looking for a person who will be the right fit for the company. It is also a way for the interviewer to assess your communication skill and how well you can articulate your past experiences.
If answered right, it projects a good impression on the interviewer, increasing your chances of getting that job.
3 tips to answer “Tell me about yourself”
- Prepare beforehand
It is one of the most common questions asked in an interview. And it is a good thing. Since you would be better prepared, you should be ready with your answers beforehand.
Writing it down on a piece of paper is helpful. Why? Because when we are talking, we are processing what to say in the present and the next few seconds. Writing allows you to process your thoughts. You can make any corrections in a much more tangible form. So write your answer down. We have shared a template below that you can follow to structure your answer.
- Research the company and the job
The power of the internet allows you to search for the company.
What does it stand for, the competitors, and the people in a similar role as you.
You can search for the recent and relevant accomplishments of the organization. You can assess whether mentioning them will help you to leverage them better and stand out. When you shift the focus to why your joining would benefit the company, you set yourself apart from the competition.
- Pick and choose from the resume
If they have called you for an interview, then it means that they went through your resume.
Avoid saying everything in the resume, and only choose points that need mentioning. Did you help your last company increase their sales by 40%? Mention that, especially if the job description involves sales. When you are answering, humanize your resume instead of reciting it.
A template for answering “Tell me about yourself”
A basic structure can help you answer — Tell me about yourself — in a way that increases your chances of selection.
You must know the rules to break them. It is not a strict guide but a framework you can use and mold according to your profile and experience.
Hello, my name is XYZ, and I am a [the role you are applying for]. I graduated from ABC colleges with a Bachelor’s in [degree name]. I did my Master’s from EFG college/university in [degree name]. I have experience of [total years/months of relevant experience]. Currently, I work at/ my last company was [current company name].
As a [job title], I helped the company in the following ways (mention 1-2 accomplishments). I have also worked at [company names] as a [job title] and helped them achieve [goals]. I want to work with you because I like [mention what you like about the company]. The company seems like an excellent fit for me because [what the company values/the vision of the company] aligns with my values.
Also read: How to create a masterful LinkedIn profile
3 answers to “Tell me about yourself” for different situations
If you are a fresh BBA graduate
Hello, my name is Jon, and I have recently graduated from XYZ college with my BBA degree. In college, I ran a small startup and helped to increase the revenue by 40%. My unique insight and ideas helped us generate [X amounts of money] and gave me a deep understanding of business development. Handling a team and the basics of Accounting is also a part of my skill set. I love that the company is keen on delivering the most seamless experience to the customer since I believe in putting the customer first. As a business development executive, I would fit into your organization.
If you are switching companies
Hello, my name is Pooja, and I am a Software Engineer. I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from NSIT Delhi.
Currently, I am working at ABC company as an Associate Software Engineer.
I am adept at developing web applications using Java, PHP. In my last project, I contributed by creating a web app for an American health insurance company. I’ve good communication skills and can collaborate well with onshore teams.
If you are switching job roles
Hello, my name is Rahul, and I have worked as a customer service executive but want to be a part of a dynamic sales team as a sales representative. My experience as a customer service executive has helped me discover the pain points faced by customers. And how to better sell our product. In my previous role, I helped many customers and guided them, which helped retain customers. I want to use my people and problem-solving skills to help your organization reach its short-term and long-term sales goals.
Communicating your accomplishments and skills is a skill. If answered right, “Tell me about yourself ”can help you position as the most suitable candidate for the role. It is such a guaranteed question that even HBR has written a post on it.
With a little practice, we are sure you can ace it.