How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview | The Muse

When career bus Theresa Merrill does mock interviews with her clients, she always leads with, “ Tell me about yourself. ” It ’ second good drill because that ’ s much the very foremost thing an interviewer will ask you to do—whether you ’ re having a preliminary telephone screen, speaking to your prospective knob, or sitting down with the CEO during a final round. SEARCH OPEN JOBS ON THE MUSE! See who’s hiring here, and you can even filter your search by benefits, company size, remote opportunities, and more. Then, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll deliver advice on landing the job right to you. even though it ’ randomness one of the most common interview questions, “ it about always stumps them, ” Merrill says. It might seem like an easy win—after all, you know all about yourself ! —but responding to this invitation to talk about you in the context of a problem consultation can feel nerve-racking and complicated. “ It ’ s challenging because it is broad, open-ended, ” Merrill points out. You might be thinking : Um, what do you want to know ? How am I supposed to pick what to share out of my integral life history right now ? fortunately, you can prepare in promote and use this common orifice prompt to your advantage, setting the stage for a successful interview.

Why Interviewers Ask It

As with any interview question, the key to crafting an impressive answer is sympathize why people are asking in the first place. “ It lets them ease into the actual interview, ” says leadership development passenger car Alina Campos, collapse of Rising. “ often when the conversation starts it ’ s a fortune of small talk and it ’ s a way to transition into it, ” particularly for less seasoned recruiters or hiring managers. “ The interviewee ’ s aflutter but the interviewer ’ s trying to get their bearings [ besides ]. ” It ’ second besides a big starting point that can help inform the guidance of the interview, says Muse career bus and CareerSchooled fall through Al Dea : “ Depending on what you say it ’ s going to help them figure out the next question, ” which might help start a chain effect of follow-up questions and lend an easily stream to the conversation. beyond serve as an icebreaker and transition, Dea says, this basic question besides helps recruiters and hiring managers accomplish what ’ s often one of their major goals in the lease serve : getting to know you. If you answer it well, the interviewers will begin to find out why you ’ re the best campaigner for this job, in terms of hard skills and have american samoa well as delicate skills. It ’ s a great opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate intelligibly and effectively, get in touch with and react to early humans, and present yourself professionally. There are plenty of times when you ’ ll hear these demand words : “ Tell me about yourself. ” But interviewers might have their own versions of the prompt that are asking pretty much the same thing, including :

  • I have your resume in front of me but tell me more about yourself.
  • Walk me through your resume.
  • I’d love to hear more about your journey.
  • Tell me a little bit more about your background.

A Simple Formula for Answering “Tell Me About Yourself”

lily Zhang, Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab and a writer for The Muse, recommends a simple and effective convention for structuring your response : show, by, future.

  • Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and perhaps a big recent accomplishment.
  • Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention previous experience that’s relevant to the job and company you’re applying for.
  • Future: Segue into what you’re looking to do next and why you’re interested in this gig (and a great fit for it, too).

This international relations and security network ’ t the only means to build your response, of course, and you can tweak it as you see suit. If there ’ s a peculiarly potent history about what brought you into this plain, for model, you might decide to start with that “ past ” narrative and then get into what you ’ re doing in the portray. Whatever order you pick, make indisputable you ultimately tie it to the job and company. “ A good plaza to end it is to give a passage of this is why I ’ thousand here, ” Dea says. You want to be absolutely certain your interviewer is left with the impression that it “ makes sense that [ you ’ ra ] sitting here talking to me about this function. ”

8 More Tips for Answering “Tell Me About Yourself”

Okay, so you ’ ve got an consultation coming up and you know it ’ mho credibly going to start with some form of “ tell me about yourself. ” hera ’ s what else you need to do to nail your answer.

1. Tailor Your Answer to the Role and Company

“ When an interviewer asks that, they in truth mean tell me about yourself as it ’ s relevant to the situation you ’ rhenium put on for and this company. I think they ’ ra giving you an opportunity to articulate succinctly why you have the right qualifications, ” says Muse career bus Tina Wascovich. Take advantage of the opportunity ! In order to do that, you ’ ll want to spend some time combing through the job description, researching the company, and figuring out how you can tell your story in a way that makes it crystal clear why you ’ re concerned and what you bring to the mesa that aligns with the function and company. “ This is the best luck to be identical steer and share your objective. But your objective needs to fulfill their goals, ” says Muse career coach and recruiter Steven Davis. For example, a node he worked with was leaving a job where she ’ vitamin d worked on a team developing a fresh antibacterial cream and getting it ready for clinical trials. The fresh job she wanted entail working on an entirely unrelated product, so the important matter for her to mention in this shell was that prior to her current character, she ’ five hundred never had experience working on antibacterial creams and was able to come in and figure out how to move the process forward, just as she could do in this raw role. indeed when you ’ re in the midst of a job search looking for a especial type of function, you might have a basic template you use for every interview, but make certain to tweak it to fit the company. “ It ’ s an opportunity to show them right away that you get it, ” Campos says. “ If they talk a bunch about culture, weave that into your answer, ” she adds, and if the company or even the detail team emphasizes something else, see if you can incorporate that. In some cases individual keywords could help give the prompt that you ’ ve done your research and are a good equip, according to Campos. For exercise, does the caller consult to itself a technical school company or a startup, a consumer brand or an on-line retailer, a issue or zine ? “ Generally the [ answers ] that always resonate with me show that they very get the role, ” she says, vitamin a well as why they applied. “ I get more engage because I can see that it ’ sulfur going to go somewhere. ”

2. Keep It Professional

In keeping with the notion that this question carries an inconspicuous addendum— “ as it ’ second relevant to this role and company ” —you ’ rhenium best off keeping your solution professional. Wascovich explains that whereas the norm in some countries might be to share personal details at this point, in the U.S. you should avoid doing indeed. In other words, this international relations and security network ’ t the fourth dimension to talk about your family and hobbies, unless you know something very specific about the company that would lead you to believe differently.

3. But Inject Some Passion Into Your Answer (if You Feel Comfortable)

Keeping your solution master, however, shouldn ’ thymine stop you from shedding light on why you ’ rhenium passionate about your influence or about this ship’s company, even if that broaches slenderly more personal territory. “ If people feel comfortable telling their fib from a passionate perspective, it helps engage the interviewer and set them apart, ” says Wascovich. For model, Wascovich recently worked with a particular education administrator who ’ d actually been a particular education student in elementary school. Her teachers inspired her to pursue the career she did. “ so in telling your story about how you got your get down, that could be a unique hook shot. ” You don ’ t have to go into a huge sum of detail, but if your goal in an interview is to stand out among the applicant pool and be memorable, then infusing this answer with some passion can help you do that.

“ People don ’ t want to talk to robots—they want to talk to humans, ” Dea says. “ I love it when person tells me, I knew I wanted to work in marketing when I was a child. I ’ ve always very love write. ” Campos agrees. “ If a person actually is connected to their mission and what they want to go after in their next function and this company truly align, this is a great invest to bring that in, ” she says. You might incorporate a conviction like, “ I ’ m truly passionate about ten and yttrium and thus I was very attracted to your company… ”

4. Be Succinct (and Definitely Don’t Recite Your Resume)

Whatever you do, don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate waste this meter regurgitating every unmarried detail of your career. “ Most people answer it like they ’ re giving a dissertation on their sum up, ” says Davis, but that ’ s only going to bore the interviewer to tears. It ’ mho not just about entertaining or engaging your interviewer, Campos explains. You ’ re besides giving a tip as to how you ’ ll talk in meetings with co-workers, bosses, and clients. Are you going to ramble for 10 minutes every time person asks you a reasonably open-ended doubt ? There ’ s no scientifically raise optimum duration for answering this or any interview interrogate. Some coaches and recruiters will tell you to keep it to 30 seconds or less, while others will say you should aim for a minute, or talk for no more than two minutes. “ Everyone has a different approach, ” says Dea, who ’ sulfur had candidates speak for one infinitesimal or go on for five. But in his have, people tend to start losing steam after 1.5 to 2.5 minutes of uninterrupted talking. You ’ ll have to decide what feels correct for you in any given context, but if you ’ re speak for longer than a couple of minutes, there ’ s a good prospect you ’ re getting into excessively much contingent besides soon. Make certain you ’ re besides reading the board as you ’ re talking. If the other person looks bored or distracted, it might be time to wrap it up. If they perk up at one part of your answer, it might be deserving expanding on that topic a bit more. In general, however, remember that you don ’ t have to relay your entire life history here, Dea says. Think of it as a teaser that should pique the interviewer ’ mho interest and give them a chance to ask follow-up questions about whatever intrigues them most.

5. Practice (But Don’t Memorize)

You don ’ metric ton want to wait until you get this interview in a live interview to try out your answer for the first fourth dimension. Think through what you want to convey about yourself ahead of each interview and practice saying it out forte. Davis recommends leaving yourself a voice mail or recording your answer and then waiting an hour or more before you listen to it to give yourself some distance and position. When you last play it back, see if the answer sounds solid and credible to you. If you can, go beyond practicing solo. “ It constantly helps to rehearse with early people to hear yourself say it and hear feedback from how other people are interpreting what you ’ re allege, ” Dea says. Asking a trust colleague, ally, or syndicate penis to listen and react to your answer will help you hone it. If your practice buddy is game, you can even ask them what they would say if they were being asked, and try to put yourself in the interviewer ’ randomness shoes to think about what you ’ d look for on the early side. Practice will surely make your answer strong and serve you become more confident giving it. Dea warns, however, against memorizing and reciting your spiel word-for-word. “ There ’ s a fine balance between practicing and memorizing. It needs to come off as very authentic, ” he says. Wascovich explains that recruiters might be more reason of new grads in their first couple of years in the work force who sound like they ’ ve memorized their answer, but that it ’ s likely to be a crimson flag for anyone with a little snatch more experience. “ You don ’ thyroxine want to sound excessively rehearsed, ” she says. “ You should be able to have a conversation, ” she adds. “ Imagine yourself telling a narrative to a good ally. ”

6. Know Your Audience

As with any interview question—or conversation for that matter—you ’ ll want to make sure you understand who you ’ re talking to. You might get some form of “ tell me about yourself ” at every single degree of the interview serve for a job, from the telephone screen through final rounds, but that doesn ’ thymine mean you have to give the same accurate answer every fourth dimension. If you ’ rhenium public speaking to a recruiter who ’ s not immersed in the heavily skills of the team you ’ d be joining, you might keep your answer more focus on the bigger picture, whereas when you speak to your prospective foreman, you might get a short moment more technical. If you ’ re talking to a C-level executive as part of your final cycle, it ’ randomness probably bright to touch on why you ’ rhenium trace to the overall deputation of the company they run. You can besides enhance your answer and make it more specific to the function and company based on what you learn as you progress through the interview summons, Campos says, such as, “ When I talked to so-and-so it truly resonated with me that your mission or value is… ”

7. Keep It Positive

If you were fired or laid off from your death job, this credibly international relations and security network ’ t the best consequence to mention it. “ There ’ s a fourth dimension and place for everything—you don ’ metric ton have to cram it all into this answer, ” Campos says. “ If you view this as your first base impression professionally, give them a window into that but don ’ t give them everything. The conversation ’ s not ready for that. ” As you move foster into an interview, things get more comfortable. indeed delay until you get a specific question about why you ’ re looking to change jobs or why you have a gap on your resume to address those topics. And that advice you ’ ve probably heard a million times about not badmouthing your former employer ? That applies here, besides. specially hera. If the first thing you tell an interviewer is how awed your boss is and you ’ re trying to escape the misery of their micromanaging clutches, that ’ s a bad turnoff.

8. Remember This Is Often Your First Impression, and It Matters

“ We in truth entirely have one casual to make a first base mental picture, ” Davis says. “ My opinion is that most rent decisions are made in the first minute, ” which includes your greet, handshake, eye contact, and the first thing you say, which may very well be your response to “ tell me about yourself. ” even if the powers that be aren ’ thyroxine making an irreversible decision curtly after the conversation begins, a first impression can color the rest of the interview. If you have to spend the rest of the time making up for a bad open, you ’ re in a very unlike position than if you gave a compendious, convinced, and relevant answer right off the bat. “ Be prepared for this question and show interviewers you prepared for it, ”
Campos says. “ The confidence that comes across in this is a in truth good station to start from. ”

“Tell Me About Yourself” Sample Answers

That ’ s all capital in hypothesis, but what would a solid suffice actually sound like ? Check out these examples from Zhang, Dea, and Campos.

  • Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.
  • Sure! So I’ve always enjoyed writing and public speaking, even going back to high school. This led me to pursue writing-related passions, for example in college, where I was an editor for our school newspaper. In addition to writing, I got to learn how to manage a team and the writing process. After college, I took a job at Acme as a social media manager, writing copy and social content for the company blog, but I raised my hand to work on the communications plan for a product launch which is where I discovered my interest in product marketing. After switching to a product marketing role and managing the two most successful new product launches last year, I realized I’m excited to take on a new role. I’ve learned I work best on products that I love and use, and given that I’m a big user of your company’s products I jumped at the chance to apply when I saw the open posting.
  • I’ve been in the marketing industry for over five years, primarily working in account and project management roles. I most recently worked as a senior PM for a large tech company managing large marketing campaigns and overseeing other project managers. And now I’m looking to expand my experience across different industries, particularly fintech, which is why I’m so interested in joining an agency like yours.

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