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How to Prepare Your Answer

The key to a remarkable interview is preparation. Start by identifying the qualifications the employer is looking for. Research the job description thoroughly and use it as an outline to guide your responses.

Why Interviewers ask "Tell me About Yourself?"

To assess whether you may be the right candidate, recruiters will base their questions on the following criteria:

  • Do you have the educational background needed?
  • Do you have the responsibility and work ethic it takes?
  • Are you in tune with the company’s mission and goals?

How to prepare to answer "Tell me About Yourself?"

To prepare your answer, start with research. Learn as much as you can about the requirements of the position. Target the employer’s needs by tailoring your responses specifically to the qualifications they seek. Focus on highlighting your career accomplishments and skill sets that relate to the job description.

Now that you have identified the employer’s needs, focus on defining the qualities that make you fit for the job. Here are some questions to help you:

  • Why are you interested in the role?
  • Why are you interested in the company?
  • What are your positive traits or characteristics?
  • Is there something unique about your background?

Now you are ready to kick off the interview with a concise sales pitch to convince the recruiter that your skills and experience qualify you for the job.

How to answer “Tell me About Yourself”

The key to a remarkable interview is preparation. Start by identifying the qualifications the employer is looking for. Research the job description thoroughly and use it as an outline to guide your responses.


Format Your Response

Following the “present-past-future” formula, start with your current situation and make reference to the knowledge you have gained and past work history that qualify you for this future role. Finish with why you are eager to be part of the company.


Share promotions or achievements

Consider mentioning if you were promoted, or share a moment where you overcame a challenge.


Mention past experiences that directly related to the job description

Plan on providing three to five past experiences that can clearly demonstrate why you are qualified for the position. To stand out from competing candidates, use numbers and data that will quantify how your work has directly contributed to the company or customers’ satisfaction.

This is not the time to center on personal information about your hobbies or family. Instead, explain why you are interested in this role, your professional interests and what makes you a great fit. Structure your responses to showcase how your past and current jobs have helped you gain the knowledge and skills that are required for this position.


Focus on why you are the best candidate

When employers ask you to tell them about yourself, they want to learn what attributes you have that can support their mission. This question creates the opportunity for you to outline your work ethic and leadership skills as well as personality traits that have helped you succeed

3 Example Answers

Here are three examples of responses to “Tell me about yourself” that are based on career level:

Entry level:

“I graduated with an associate degree in Business Administration. I chose that field to be of impact in the economic sector. I am drawn to your company because of its impeccable reputation and quality service. I feel that my organizational and management skills are a match for the company’s performance and I am interested in contributing as part of the team.”

Mid level:

“I graduated with my degree in Information Technology three years ago and immediately started my career at the Florida State Hospital. Since then, I’ve offered impeccable service with troubleshooting, support, and repair to over 50 IT equipment and network malfunctions in the triage area. I look forward to contributing my IT skills to your company.

Executive level:

And if you have advanced experience, stay concise by starting at a midpoint in your career. This will keep your answer from getting too long. For example, if you’re a veterinarian, you can explain how you started and describe your career growth. “I first started operating medical equipment, such as X-rays. Then I progressed into treating and dressing wounds. I then wanted to take my career a step further and went back to school to obtain my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. I was eager to go from assistant to veterinarian.”

Keep in mind that the recruiter wants to know what experience and skill sets you have that qualify you for the position. Always target your responses based on the company’s needs and criteria.