How to Ace Your Interview: Tell Me About Yourself

answer tell me about yourself interview question

“Tell me about yourself.” This question often catches candidates off guard. This seemingly simple interview question can leave candidates stumbling for words if they are not adequately prepared. Often, candidates begin to describe a personal unending story, in which the interviewer has absolutely no interest, nor is it what he asked. It is, therefore, essential to understand that when an interviewer asks this question, he intends to learn about the candidate’s professional background and experiences and assess if the candidate could fit into the role and within the organization. In this interview guide, we will discuss effective strategies to tackle this interview question and provide valuable insights to make an impression on the interviewer. By following these interview tips, you will be able to effectively tackle the “tell us about yourself” question and make a positive first impression.

The Importance of the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

The “Tell me about yourself” question serves as an icebreaker for the interviewer to assess the candidate’s communication skills, professionalism, and ability to present him or herself concisely. It provides the candidate with an opportunity to create a positive first impression and set the tone for the rest of the interview. By crafting a well-structured and engaging response, the candidate can capture the interviewer’s attention and stand out from other candidates.

Understanding the Purpose of the Question

The primary purpose of the “tell me about yourself” question is to assess the candidate’s suitability for the job based on his background, skills, and experiences. The interviewer wants to understand how the candidate’s qualifications, work experiences, and future goals align with the requirements of the position and the organizational structure of the company. Therefore, it is imperative to tailor the response to emphasize relevant aspects of your professional life.

Structuring Your Response

To effectively answer the question, a candidate can divide his or her response into two parts: first, educational history and professional work experiences that showcase their skillset, capabilities, and achievements, and second, a brief personal account to highlight his or her personality, interests, and aspirations. Here, the candidate may also mention his extracurricular activities to show a more all-rounded personality.

Mention Educational history and focus predominantly on Professional Experience

This forms the first part of your response. Briefly discussed where you went for your degree and the program that you opted for. You can also briefly mention why you opted for this program. Next,  dedicate the majority of your time to discussing your professional experience. Highlight your career progression, previous job roles, and relevant skills that you have acquired along the way. Be concise but provide enough detail to showcase your expertise and suitability for the role you’re interviewing for.

Highlight Achievements and Accomplishments

While discussing your professional experience, don’t forget to mention your notable achievements and accomplishments. This could include specific projects you’ve successfully completed, targets you’ve met or exceeded, or any recognition or awards you’ve received. While discussing this, emphasize the impact that you had on the success of your previous organization. Sharing these accomplishments demonstrates your capabilities and adds credibility to your claims.

Briefly Discuss Personal Life & integrate Personal Interests and Extracurricular Activities

In the second part of your response, provide a brief overview of your personal background without delving into unnecessary details. You can briefly mention your interests and hobbies to give an idea of who you are as a person. In the latter part of your response, integrate your personal interests and extracurricular activities that relate to your professional growth. For example, if you enjoy volunteering and have done so in any capacity, highlight how those experiences that have helped you develop valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork, or problem-solving. This demonstrates your well-roundedness and the ability to transfer skills from your personal life to your professional endeavors.

Linking Personal Interests to Professional Growth

By linking your personal interests to your professional growth, you can showcase how your unique passions have contributed to your overall development. For instance, if you have a keen interest in public speaking and have participated in Toastmasters, you can mention how this has enhanced your communication skills, confidence, and ability to present ideas effectively. Such connections highlight your proactive approach to self-improvement and your commitment to continuous learning.

Keeping the Response Concise and Relevant

Although it is valuable to provide sufficient information about your educational qualifications, work experiences, skillset and capabilities, it is equally important to keep the response concise and focused. Remember, the interviewer is looking for relevant information that directly relates to the position the candidate is applying for. Avoid going into excessive detail or discussing unrelated topics. Keep the response clear, organized, and tailored to the job requirements.

Practice and Preparation

Answering the “tell me about yourself” question confidently and effectively is critical as it sets the tone for the rest of the interview, One of the most effective ways to ensure this is to practice beforehand. Prepare a script that outlines the key points you want to cover and rehearse it a few times. Familiarize yourself with the flow and structure of your response, so you can deliver it smoothly and naturally during the interview. Additionally, it also helps to conduct mock interviews with a friend or family member to receive feedback. This allows you to reassess your response and refine your delivery, which will make you much more prepared for the actual interview..


In conclusion, the “Tell me about yourself” question provides a valuable opportunity to make a positive impression during a job interview. By structuring your response, emphasizing relevant professional experiences and achievements, and linking personal interests to your growth, you can effectively showcase your qualifications and suitability for the role. Remember to keep your response concise, practice beforehand, and maintain a confident and engaging demeanor throughout the interview.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Q: How long should my response be for the “Tell me about yourself” question?

   A: Aim to keep your response within two to three minutes. Be concise and focus on the most relevant aspects of your professional background. Remember to stick to whatever is on your CV. Do not deviate a lot from it.

2. Q: Should I mention personal information such as my family or hobbies?

   A: While it’s acceptable to briefly mention personal information, the focus should primarily be on your professional work history and extracurricular experiences.

3. Q: Can I deviate from my CV when answering this question?

   A: While you can touch upon aspects not mentioned in your CV, it is essential to keep your response relevant to the job requirements and avoid going off-topic.

4. Q: How can I make my response more engaging and memorable?

   A: Incorporate storytelling techniques, use concrete examples and anecdotes, and maintain a confident and enthusiastic tone to make your response more engaging and memorable.

5. Q: Is it necessary to practice my response beforehand?

   A: Practicing your response is highly recommended. It helps you refine your delivery, ensure clarity, and boost your confidence during the interview.

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