Interview Tips

How to Answer: Tell me about yourself

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By: Caroline Forrest
Apr 16, 2020 • 8 min read

How to Answer:

Tell me about yourself.

This is one of the most common questions to kick off an interview. But, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy to answer. It’s a vague, open-ended question, that gives you the opportunity to send your very first message to a potential employer. “Tell me about yourself” is a conversation starter. However, it is also a great opportunity for you to share a little bit about who you are, and why you are interviewing today.

Employers don’t typically want to hear about your family, or your dog, or what you ate for breakfast. Instead, follow the guide below to craft your perfect response to “tell me about yourself.”

Talk about your education

A great way to start answering this question is to talk a little bit about your educational experiences. Do you have a degree or a certification that you recently completed? Or maybe you are working towards something right now that you’d like to learn more about by working in the same industry. Make sure that you also mention a positive experience within your education that left a lasting impact. Whatever your unique path has been, mention a little bit about your academic career to kick this question off. 

Example: I recently completed my GED, and received my ServSafe certification. My education taught me a lot about food service so far, and I’d like to put some of my education to work. 

What are your most recent work experiences?

The next step to craft the best response to this prompt is to go right into your recent work history. Talk about a few recent positions that you’ve had – make sure not to talk about too many, just one or two is great. Most importantly, mention something you learned at each job. If you don’t have any recent work experience, use this time to talk more about your education, or any volunteer work that you’ve done. Even informal experiences like volunteering or babysitting can help tell an employer about yourself. 

Example: I recently worked at a grocery store as a cashier. I enjoyed working with other people and learned a lot about customer service. Before that, I worked as a host at a restaurant. I loved greeting new customers and helping them answer any questions. 

What are you like on the job? 

This one should be easy – just two or three words that describe you as an employee. Think about what other people have said about you in the past, skills or attributes that you are proud of. 

Example: I’m a very hard-working, ambitious person. 

Why are you here?

To conclude your response, tell the employer what brought you to the interview.  Why are you here today? What happened in your journey that led you to this job? These might be good questions to ask yourself, whether you are in the interview or not! Create a story from your previous responses, and piece them together. 

Example: I really want to put my education to the test. After learning a lot about food service, I want to challenge myself with a more complex job. I have experience in the foodservice industry and know that your company is one of the best. When I saw the job posting, I was very excited to apply. 

Pro-tip: Thank the interviewer for taking the time to interview you at this moment! 

Example: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! I’m excited to speak with you today. 

Let’s put it all together

I recently completed my GED and received my ServSafe certification. My education has taught me a lot about food service so far, and I’d like to put some of my education to work. 

I recently worked at a grocery store as a cashier. I enjoyed working with other people and learned a lot about customer service. Before that, I worked as a host at a restaurant. I loved greeting new customers and helping them answer any questions. 

I’m a very hard-working, ambitious person. 

I really want to put my education to the test. After learning a lot about food service, I want to challenge myself with a more complex job. I have experience in the foodservice industry and know that your company is one of the best. When I saw the job posting, I was very excited to apply. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! I’m excited to speak with you today. 

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That’s it! If you can follow this guide and feel confident with your responses, you will be able to set a great tone for the rest of your interview. You will also impress the interviewer with a thoughtful, concise response. 

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