How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

Don't overthink it - instead, just follow our simple formula to this tough interview question.

Don't overthink it - instead, just follow our simple formula to this tough interview question.

“So, tell me about yourself.” The first question you answer is the most important - and it also might be the hardest! But by taking the time to prepare a few sentences in advance, you’ll be able to set a positive tone for the rest of the interview.

First, do your research. What characteristics or skills do you think your employer cares most about? Do you need the work ethic to perform long hours? A laser-focused attention to detail? Choose a few key characteristics that the company values, and keep that front of mind as you prepare further.

Next, use the present-past-future formula to craft a paragraph-length answer - the shorter, the better!  

  1. First, say where you are working and what you do right now. If you’re not working, share your last role (though you will want to prepare a longer response on this topic for later).

  2. Then, “zoom out” to explain your past employment and the skills you gained during past jobs.

  3. Finally, cover the future by sharing why you’re excited for this specific opportunity.

Here’s an example of this formula that you can follow as you create your own:  “Well, my most recent position was as a medical secretary at Charter Medical Associates, where I supported doctors and nurses directly for five years. Before that, I worked as a phlebotomist, which definitely helped me to appreciate the attention to detail and customer service skills that are necessary in the medical field. And while my work was very rewarding, I am eager to start a career on the insurance side of healthcare, which is why I’m so excited about this Member Services role with Blue Pilgrim Health Insurance.”

By telling a short but thoughtful story about your work history that leads to why you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity, you’ll impress the interview team and gain great momentum for the rest of the conversation.