How to Answer the "Tell Me About Yourself" Question in an Interview

Often one of the first prompts an interviewer gives, “Tell Me About Yourself” is also commonly one of the hardest to answer.  I’ve seen people share way too much information, rambling on for minutes.  I’ve also seen people not share enough information, leaving the interviewer with lingering questions or concerns.  

For a guide on how to answer this open-ended and often ambiguous prompt, break your answer into three parts:

1. Where are you now?

What is your current educational or employment status?  What have you currently been filling your time with or building skills in?

2. Where have you been?

What past roles have you held that would benefit you in this future position?  Have you served as a leader, led projects, conducted research, etc?  Think about relevant and recent experiences that would be important for the interviewer to know about up front.

3. Where are you going?

What are your future goals and ambitions?  How will joining this organization or stepping into this role align with that?  

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Keep your answer to approximately 2 minutes in length total.  You may want to go on and on about your past experience, but remember that you will get other interview questions where you can elaborate about these prior jobs and internships.  Instead, hit the highlights so as to provide the interviewer with a high-level overview.

The main objective of interviewers when asking this question is to get a sense of who you are and why you a) are qualified for the job and b) want the job.  Following this outline will help answer these questions in a clear and concise way for the interviewer.