How to answer tell me about yourself? The simple 3 step approach!

6 min min read
Updated on January 13, 2022
By Karen Chen
How to answer tell me about yourself? The simple 3 step approach!

You walk into a job interview for a new role and the first thing your interviewer says to you after sitting down is, “So, tell me about yourself.” Do you find yourself struggling to come up with the perfect answer to this question? You’re not alone. This is one of the most – if not the number one most – common interview questions and it still catches a lot of people off guard. After all, it is such an open-ended question, that it can be hard to narrow it down to a brief answer. Do you talk about your hobbies? Your work experiences? Your schooling? How much is too much? How much is not enough?

If these questions are what’s going through your mind during interviews, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this article, you will learn a simple, 3-step approach to answering “Tell me about yourself” that will go smoothly every single time.

Key Takeaways

  • “Tell me about yourself” is one of the most common interview questions and it can be hard to come up with a good answer
  • When answering “Tell me about yourself” be sure to remember the job description, keep it professional, and stay concise
  • The three-step approach to answering this question is to 1) talk about your current situation, 2) talk about what led you to where you are today, and 3) tie it all together by talking about your future in the role you’re interviewing for

Tips to Navigate Your Answer (and any Interview!)

Before we dive into the approach, here are some initial tips to help you navigate the next time you get asked to talk about yourself in an interview.

Keep the job description and the company in mind

Before your interview, you should become familiar with the job description and qualifications listed in the posting, as well as some background on the company itself. Doing a quick scan of their website and rereading the job posting should be sufficient to get started. By having this knowledge, it’ll help you to prepare beforehand and feel more confident during your interview. As well, you’ll be able to better articulate your answers in a way that shows you are exactly what they are looking for in a candidate.

Keep it professional

It is always best to keep your answer professional. This is not to say that you can’t showcase your personality but if you’re asked this question don’t just start rambling about whatever you’re into right now. You should always frame your answer in the context of your professional life, as that is usually what the employer is most interested in hearing about.

Keep it concise

Remember – this question is usually one that starts off the interview. Think of it as an elevator pitch. You want to give a brief overview of who you are but not go into too much detail as you’ll probably talk more about your experiences later on in the interview. Answering this question well will set you up for the conversation that’s to come.

How to answer tell me about yourself: The 3-step Approach

Now that you have those helpful tips in your back pocket, let’s talk about how you can craft your answer to this common interview question.

Step 1. Talk briefly about your past professional journey

When answering “Tell me about yourself,” think about what has led you to your current role. Try to describe this in a sentence or two to give your interviewer some background as to what led you here today. You may want to talk about your schooling if you’re a recent graduate or about how you were drawn to the field you are working in right now. Don’t be afraid to showcase your passion for the industry!

Step 2. Give an overview of your current situation/role

The next thing you should do is explain your current situation by discussing your role and relevant achievements or responsibilities. You can talk about your favourite part of the job, an exciting project you are working on, and/or a recent accomplishment. This sets you up well as it gives your interviewer a sense of who you are today, professionally.

Step 3. Connect your background to the job you are interviewing for

To tie everything together you want to connect what you’ve talked about back to the job that brought you to the interview. Think back to the qualities that were in the job posting that are important to succeeding in this new role. You may want to highlight how your current and past experiences relate to this job and will help you succeed as a candidate.

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Sample Answers

Following the 3-step approach we discussed, here is a sample answer that can give you a sense of how to frame yours at your next interview.

Step 1. Talk briefly about your past professional journey

“I love creating content and building relationships, so naturally communications is something I was drawn to. I finished my undergrad at ABC University majoring in Marketing in 2019 and have worked in Corporate Communications capacities since then.”

Step 2. Give an overview of your current situation/role

“Currently, I am working as the Communications Coordinator for ABC Bank’s technology division. I’ve been working here for about 2 years now, and I’m responsible for internal communications like newsletters, email campaigns, and organizing events for employees. Recently, I actually spearheaded a campaign that highlighted our monthly achievements in a video series, generating a lot of positive employee engagement. I loved this campaign because my favourite part of the job is getting to talk to people and turning these conversations into stories that can be shared.”

Step 3. Connect your background to the job you are interviewing for

“I really enjoy my current role, but I am ready to take on a role with greater leadership potential. I also love working in the financial services industry and in communications, so that’s why I was interested in your Internal Communications Manager position. Overall, I believe my past experiences and skills translate well into this role and will allow me to be a great asset to your team. ”

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