"Tell me about yourself" seems a straightforward enough request in a job interview. However it can be a difficult question to grapple with - there are so many possible answers and pieces of information that you could provide.
These sample interview answers and tips will put you on the right track to providing the response the interviewer is looking for when asked to introduce yourself in an interview.
We provide some excellent basic guidelines on how to approach this question at interview questions and answers. Here we take it further by providing you with good sample interview answers to use for different situations.
Focus on what is relevant to the interviewer
The first rule of thumb for answering the Tell me about yourself question is to discuss what interests the interviewer. That means focusing on the experience and skills you have that will add value to the position and the company.
Relevancy is key to properly answering this interview question. Carefully consider the most important job requirements when you prepare your answer. Keep it concise and targeted to the job opportunity when asked to introduce yourself in an interview.
Support your interview answer with examples
Providing evidence of your skills by detailing your accomplishments will set you apart from the other candidates. A clear and concise summary of what you can do for the company is what the interviewer wants to hear.
Giving proof of your suitability for the position will quickly convince the interviewer that you are a serious contender for the job.
How to answer when you do not have direct experience for the job
If you are moving into a different industry you should highlight the transferable skills you can bring to the job in your interview answer.
Study the job and decide which of your competencies are relevant. Keep your answer focused on those qualities that are pertinent to the job.
Tell me about yourself answers for entry level job candidates
When you are an entry level job candidate it is important to focus on your qualifications and any work experience you have. Your answer should include what you hope to achieve with your first job.
Remember that you don't have to provide a long description of your qualifications, your time at college or your internships. Interviewers will pick up on those aspects they want to learn more about and will ask you questions to get further information.
The interviewer is evaluating how your previous experience will set you up for success in this particular job. If you have had a number of jobs, focus on your most recent role as this will likely be perceived as having the most relevancy and validity by the interviewer, but very briefly mention your other roles if they are relevant to the job opportunity. Keep your answer concise and targeted.
Highlight notable and relevant professional achievements from your previous work experience such as:
Again, the most recent accomplishments carry the most weight, so focus on those.
Candidates often ask if they should mention their education and academic qualifications when asked to discuss themselves. Your education will be detailed in your resume so it is advisable to only highlight your academic accomplishments if they are relevant to the job opportunity, not too long ago and noteworthy.
Here are some good sample interview answers that avoid just listing previous jobs:
"I have 5 years experience in ...."
"I have worked as an Analyst for 2 different market leaders in the financial services industry during the last 6 years and my core experience is in ..."
"After achieving a first class degree in XYZ, I worked for X Company where my key accomplishments were ..."
Answering the "Tell me about yourself" question for inexperienced candidates can be tricky. The employer is looking to gain insight into your academic background, any work experience you may have, your career goals and your behavior and personality.
In your interview answer focus on what is relevant and important for the job opportunity. How do your academic credentials align with the job requirements, how do your career aspirations and personality align with the company values and culture?
As a recent graduate you can concisely summarize your academic achievements with a statement such as:
"I graduated in June with a X degree, majoring in .... I achieved a X GPA. In addition to my coursework I was involved in X extra-curricular activities and completed practical work experience at .... and an internship at ..... My biggest challenges and achievements during my studies were... I believe that the skills I gained, including..., will be of significant value in this position."
Most of your educational details are in your resume, so it is important to not just paraphrase your resume. Rather add valuable information such as your challenges and achievements so that the interviewer can gain a clearer picture of you.
Hiring managers list the most common mistakes candidates make when answering this question.
For more great tips on answering the Tell me About Yourself interview question.
How to answer Describe Yourself in One Word.
You may be asked to tell the interviewer something about yourself that is not on your resume. This can be tricky if you are not prepared with an interview answer that is relevant to the job opportunity or demonstrates a positive characteristic that adds value to your application.
Find top tips on answering this interview question plus good example interview answers.
This question can be tricky to answer confidently. We show you how to do it.
Find great sample interview answers at Why Should We Hire You?
This is another way of asking "Tell me about yourself" and can be daunting to answer at the start of a job interview. Find out how to handle this common request at:
Walk Me Through Your Resume - sample interview answers
Be ready with a list of insightful questions to ask in your interview.