12 Tips to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in a Job Interview: Sample Answers and Examples

Are you preparing for a job interview and dreading the “tell me about yourself” question? It’s one of the most common questions that employers ask during an interview and can be a source of stress for many job seekers.

If you know how to answer this question and how to craft your answer effectively, you’ll make a great impression on the hiring manager and increase your chances of getting hired.

In this blog post, we’ll analyze why interviewers ask this question and we’ll share 12 tips to help you craft an effective response and provide sample answers that will leave your interviewer impressed. Be ready to put those nerves at ease with some positive preparation so you can ace your next job interview and get that dream role you’re after!

Why do interviewers ask “Tell me about yourself”?

Interviewers ask this question for many reasons, primarily to get an idea of who you are as a person and what life experiences you have gone through. Some more reasons why they ask this question are:

  • It helps them determine if you will be a good fit for the organization and job role they are interviewing you for.
  • To better understand your qualifications, skills, and knowledge related to the position. Interviewers are looking for details about your educational background, such as what schools you attended and what degrees or certifications you have obtained. They also want to know more specifically about your work experience and how it relates to the position being offered.
  • This question can also give the interviewer insight into your soft skills. This could include problem-solving abilities, communication skills, organizational skills, leadership qualities, teamwork experiences, as well as any other relevant interpersonal qualities that would make you a great addition to their team.
  • To get a better understanding of areas in which you may need additional training or development to excel in the job role they have offered.
  • To get a glimpse into who you are outside of work. By asking candidates about hobbies or interests outside of work activities and projects, they can gain insight into who they truly are as a person; something that cannot always be determined from reading resumes alone.
  • It allows hiring managers to see how passionate or enthusiastic you may be about certain topics; how well-rounded of an individual you are; what kind of personality traits and values you hold; and whether or not these match up with those of their company culture.

A few common variations of “Tell me about yourself”

  • “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”

When answering this job interview question, it’s important to start with how your background relates to the hiring manager and their organization. The reason why hiring managers ask this question is so candidates will provide candid responses about their goals and priorities. This helps the manager understand who each job candidate is beyond what is stated on their resume for a particular job.

Begin by providing an overview of how your experience aligns with the job description and how you can effectively contribute to the company. Use key points from your job history and education that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Lily Zhang, a career coach and former Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab, as well as a writer for The Muse, recommends an easy yet highly effective response formula:

  • Present: Please describe your current position, what responsibilities it entails, and any recent success you have achieved in the role.
  • Past: Be sure to mention any previous experience that is relevant to the job or company you are interviewing for. This will show the interviewer that you are a good fit for the position.
  • Future: Use this opportunity to mention what you hope to do next and why you think this gig is a great fit for your skills and interests.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to design your response, and you can modify it as desired. But it does provide a great starting point for how to answer “Tell me about yourself” in a job interview.

12 more tips for answering “Tell me about yourself”

The key to nailing any interview question is understanding why the interviewer is asking it in the first place.

Your first impression matters, so make sure it’s a good one! Here are additional tips to consider when crafting your response:

1. Keep it brief.

When an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, they don’t want to hear your life story. They just want to get a sense of who you are and what you’re all about. So, keep your answer brief – no more than 1-2 minutes.

2. Focus on how you can benefit the company.

Your response should demonstrate how your previous experiences have prepared you for the role and how you can contribute to the organization’s success.

3. Highlight your strengths.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight why you’re the best candidate for the job. Talk about your strengths and skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for and make sure to back up your claims with examples.

4. Be honest.

It’s important, to be honest when answering this question – don’t try to exaggerate or make yourself sound better than you are. The interviewer will likely ask follow-up questions to get more details about what you’ve said, so everything you say must be truthful.

5. Avoid controversial topics.

You never know where an interview might lead, so it’s best to avoid any controversial topics when answering this question (e.g., politics, religion, etc.). Stick to safe topics that won’t offend anyone or make the interviewer uncomfortable.

6. Prepare ahead of time.

This is such an important question that it’s worth preparing for ahead of time. Think about what points you want to hit and practice saying them out loud until you feel confident that you can deliver them well in an interview setting.

7. Be enthusiastic.

Your tone of voice and body language are just as important as the words you use when answering this question, so make sure to come across as enthusiastic and positive. This will help create a good first impression and set the tone for the rest of the interview.

8. Don’t ramble.

It’s easy to go off on tangents when you’re talking about yourself, so make sure to stay focused and keep your response concise. You don’t want the interviewer to lose interest or forget why they asked you this question in the first place.

9. Keep it professional.

This is a professional job interview, so make sure to keep your response focused on how you can contribute to the organization and how your skills can help them achieve their goals. Avoid talking about personal interests or details that aren’t relevant.

10. Speak with passion.

Be sure to speak with passion and convey how excited you are about the job. This will show the interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the role and eager to learn more about it.

11. Keep it positive.

Job seekers should avoid mentioning being fired or laid off from their last job if possible. Instead, focus on how you’ve grown and developed as a professional since then.

12. Highlight your personality

Don’t be afraid to give a glimpse into your personality and how it can contribute to the team. This will help you stand out from other candidates and make an impression on the hiring manager. Although an interview is a great opportunity to get to know the person interviewing you, stick with professional details and avoid giving extremely personal details.

How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview with examples?

A strong sample answer to “tell me about yourself” for someone looking for a similar role at a new company

Your answer could go something like this: “I’m a professional with 5 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I recently left my role as an Account Executive at Metro Health Center, where I was responsible for managing top-performing clients. In this role, I used problem-solving skills to exceed goals and increase customer satisfaction. Currently, I am looking for a more challenging assignment at a company where I can continue to hone my skills and grow professionally.”

A sample answer for an interviewee changing careers

Your answer could go something like this: “I have 8 years of experience working in the public sector, but recently decided to pursue a career change. Since then, I have been actively seeking out roles that leverage my skills in problem-solving and customer service. I am currently in the process of obtaining certification as a computer science specialist, which will equip me with the technical knowledge needed to make an impact at my next job.”

A sample answer for a recent graduate

Your answer could go something like this: “I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Business Administration. During my time at school, I worked part-time for several major national healthcare brands and gained experience managing customer service operations. I am an avid reader and have a strong interest in how companies can use problem-solving to make better decisions. I am looking for an entry-level role that will allow me to leverage my knowledge and use it to create positive change.”

A sample answer for someone transitioning from an agency to an in-house role

Your answer could go something like this: “I have 5 years of experience working with a variety of clients in agencies. During my time there, I developed strong problem-solving and communication skills. My current job search is driven by the desire to find an in-house role that will allow me to focus on one company and its culture, products, and values. I’m excited to find a role where I can make an impact and continue to grow professionally.”

If you’re looking to pivot into a similar role in a new industry, here’s an example answer that might help.

Your answer could go something like this: “I have 7 years of experience in the retail industry, with my most recent role as a Store Manager. During this time, I developed strong leadership skills and problem-solving abilities that are necessary for success in any job. Currently, I am exploring new opportunities to apply my knowledge and expertise in a different industry. I am interested in roles that allow me to leverage my background, while also allowing me to learn and grow as a professional.”

The key is to showcase your skills, experience, and enthusiasm for the new role without going into too much detail about your entire life story. Provide thoughtful answers but keep them short and to the point. This will give hiring managers a good impression and will show that you are prepared for the interview process.


Answering the common interview question “tell me about yourself” can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. By following these simple tips and crafting a strong response, you can make sure that your answer makes a great first impression on hiring managers. Remember to keep your answer concise, professional, and positive; focus on how your skills can contribute to the company’s success; and speak with enthusiasm and passion about why you are the ideal candidate for the job. Good luck!