How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

*Interview Insider is an educational series by neteffects dedicated to sharing the inside scoop on the latest and most effective interviewing techniques that land jobs. 

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When you’re on an interview, one of the most common questions to come up is the “tell me about yourself” question. In fact, it’s most often the first one you’ll hear. So how should you respond? Very seldom does the interviewer want your life story, or a regurgitation of your entire resume. If they want to know more about you on a personal level, the’ll likely add more context to the question so that you can answer appropriately.

The person interviewing you wants to know three things: who you are, what you can do for them, and why you’re there. We’ve structured an effective response and given an example for you to use as a guideline to formulate your own answer. It’s advisable to write your response down and practice saying it out loud, so that when the question comes up, you’re ready to answer for almost any situation, whether you’re actively seeking a job or networking.


3 Components Used to Answer the”Tell Me About Yourself” Question

Who You Are

Your intro should concisely summarize your professional background but NOT be the exact word-for-word summary statement on your resume! Start off your intro with who you are professionally, then give an overview statement that showcases your strengths.

Example:

“I’m an Animal Trainer and Handler, with 15 years of experience teaching and managing animals for entertainment production work. I’ve trained hundreds of common and exotic animals during my career, traveling all over the globe.”


What You Can Do For Them

Interviewers want to know what you can bring to the table. Don’t assume they’ve read your resume and qualifications in detail. Use 2-4 points that make you stand out and briefly highlight those.

Example:

“I’ve spent the last 4 years at Creative Critters building and managing their Burbank California location, where I have earned industry awards and have been featured in the media several times for my unique work. I love working with my diverse team and looking for new ways to inform and innovate in our field.”


Why You’re There

End your response by telling them why you want the job. It’s why you are there, isn’t it? Tell them!

Example:

“Although I enjoy my current job, I feel that I’m ready to take the next steps in my career and your position really interests me.”


 Here’s the full answer

Interviewer: Hi Kelly, nice to meet you. Thanks for coming in. I guess we will go ahead and get started. So, tell me about yourself.”

Kelly: I’m an Animal Trainer and Handler, with 17 years of experience training and managing animals for the entertainment industry. I’ve worked with hundreds of common and exotic species of animals during my career, traveling all over the globe for my work.

I’ve spent the last 6 years at Animal Actors Studios out of their Burbank California location, where I developed their outreach program and have been featured in the media several times for my work. I love working on set and teaching other industry professionals how to safely engage with their critter co-stars.”

Although I enjoy my current job, I feel that I’m ready to take on a new challenge in my career and your position really interests me.”


REMEMBER

Don’t try to squeeze too much in. You will have time later during the interview to fill in any gaps. The point is to capture their attention and interest without overdoing it. For more great interviewing tips, check out our other Interview Insider posts!