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How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview QuestionIt’s a simple question that you think needs know rehearsing. But then there you are, at your interview, struggling to capture your whole life’s journey in one succinct answer. Your interviewer is not amused. The, “Tell me about yourself,” question, commonly kicks off interviews and is a candidate’s first chance to shine. It is an important question and can be easily navigated by following these tips.

Don’t start from birth.

It may sound obvious but too many job seekers get caught up in the wrong details. Your interviewer does not need to know what town you grew up in. If the job you’re applying to is in the town you have lived your whole life in, then it would be appropriate to mention it and tie it into your knowledge of the community. Your answer should include an explanation from college and on.

Provide more than what’s on your resume.

Your interviewer already has a copy of your resume. By asking you to tell more about yourself, they want you to elaborate while still being succinct. This is a great opportunity to highlight your passion for your industry. Discuss why you first got into it and why it continues to surprise, challenge, and impress you.

Keep it professional.

Assume that interviewer’s do not want to hear about your love of Magic the Gathering. They may ask, later, what side hobbies or interests you have, in which case you can decide to divulge your passtimes. Telling about yourself means explaining your professional journey, from your first entry level job to the interview you’re at now. This is also a great time to show how your personality meshes well with the industry culture.

Talking about yourself in a job interview setting is much different than when out with friends. Rehearsing your answer will create a purposeful response that highlights your best professional accomplishments.

Do you love or hate this question? What answers have you given and had success with? Let us know in the comments below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by kasiastock

Ali Kelley

Ali is a freelance writer who blogs about nonprofits, tech and social media for Chicago startups, Zealous Good, Dabble, and Eventbrite. Since graduating college in 2009, she has learned a ton about job searching in a recession, and is excited to share her experiences. In addition to writing, Ali enjoys the finer things in life like pajamas that double as jeans.

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