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How do you answer the question "tell me about yourself" in an interview?

What aspect of my life should I focus on? And how do I make sure that it is applicable to the company I am interviewing for?

Thank you comment icon This question is an opportunity for you to share skill sets, interests, and past experiences that are applicable to the company and job. Think of past projects or tasks that are relevant. Are there aspects of the job that you will really enjoy? For example, if the role is detail oriented in accounting and you have a passion for numbers and math, share that about yourself and why that will assist you in your new role. Sophia Cavalli

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Subject: Career question for you

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Teresa’s Answer

Hello Natalie,

This is a very broad question that you could answer in a variety of ways, but it would be good to orient your answer to the role and company you're applying for, where there are connections. Think about what skills the role is requiring and if you have experiences in life that you can describe that demonstrate those skills. Often times, providing information about your past experiences (these can be life as well as work related), your areas of interest and what you are currently doing are great ways to start to answer "tell me about yourself". This could include volunteer work you've done, school teams/organizations that you've joined or special projects of interest from school. You could speak about the skills you've used related to the examples you've selected (and highlight skills that they are requiring for the role). For example, perhaps you learned project management skills, or communications or time management skills or working in teams on some of the projects you highlighted. These could also be skills they are looking for in the role. Generally, the interviewer wants to hear an answer where your personality and interests come to life. An interviewer is also listening for self confidence and energy when you speak. Speak from the heart about who you are and what you are interested in.
Best of luck!
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David’s Answer

This is excellent advice. As someone who has interviewed hundreds if not over a thousand people in my career, the only thing I would add is to keep it concise. Remember that the interviewer has your resume so you don't have to go into detail. Good points to hit are your education, your applicable experience, why the position interests you. Give the interviewer enough to follow up with their next questions. Way to many people -- including some with extensive experience -- go on far too long on this question. Have a strategy to answer it briefly and let the interviewer take the next step.
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Tracie’s Answer

I absolutely agree with what Teresa said above. I would also add that you should write down and practice answering that question. Interviews can be stressful and the last you want to do is try to think of an answer on the spot....that can lead to long-winded answers that start with where you were born and favorite food as a toddler (note a lifelong history lesson is not what they were looking for.)

So by planning what you would say in advance, you will make sure your answers are genuine and well thought through. You may want to plan 3 -5 main points:

I went to school at ___ I chose that school because I like ___
I am currently on the market exploring opportunities and this role really jumped out at me because I am passionate about ____ and in the job description I read that this role is ____
My friends and family describe me as _____
Outside of work I love to do ______. I volunteer at _____ I am involved in my community in ____ etc.

Interviewers are looking for authentic and confident people so thinking through this and planning ahead will make this more natural for you.

Best of luck!
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Justin’s Answer

Frame it like you are telling your story of you.

Main Focus Points:
If you went to college:
- I went to school studying ___. While in school I developed my skills in ___ (i.e. building a small business for an undersaturated market, developing a market plan for underserved community Rec Centers, etc.).
- While in school, I worked in internships at X, Y, and Z companies furthering my educational learning with real-world experience in A,B, and C.
- After Graduating....and so on and so on.
If you didn't go to college:
- Frame it the same just by discussing the career opportunities or volunteer experiences you have had.

Ways to make it better:
- Everyone struggles with finding the right career path. Explain how you landed on your career path and what you did to make the most of it.
- Give your personality to the story. Be professional but it's good if you can be real and express the trials you had to overcome.
- End your story by throwing in some of the skills you talked about and how you are excited to use those for the position you are applying to.

Justin recommends the following next steps:

I went to school studying ___ and learned skill A
During school, I began working as an intern at ___ and was better able to develop skill A by ___
Because of these skills I learned and practiced I got another job in ____ where I developed myself in skill A and also learned skill B
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Bobby’s Answer

A piece of advice I have received in the past is to respond with a follow-up question to help narrow down the broad question.

For instance, if an interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself", try responding with something like, "Sure! Where should I begin? Do you want to hear about some of my relevant work experience doing X? My summer internship doing Y? Or how about some of my relevant course work or extracurriculars?"

When answering an interview question you always want to make sure you understand what the interviewer wants to know. And if it is not clear from their question, don't be afraid to ask for clarification!
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. This is a very common questions that many interviews may ask. It is good for you to prepare for this question. You cannot give the same answers for every interview .
Below are my suggestion :
1. Read the job specification carefully. Identify the relevant part that matches your background.
2. Plan for the interview starting with you background that is relevant to the interview like your education, experience, etc. Highlight these parts
3. Articulate to the interviewers why you have interest and passionate of the job
4. Elaborate what you can do to add value to the company
Also, you have to think about the 1-2 questions to the interviewers on the job. This has to be relevant to the job spec and demonstrate your understanding to the post.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Martin (Marty)’s Answer

Don't go too far back in time if you have a long history of employment. I would begin by simply offering the following information, then answer any follow-up questions as they occur:
1 - Give them your current position title.
2- Share three strengths or three areas where you add value.
3- Let them know what you want to do next.

After you answer questions from the recruiter, they may ask you if you have any questions. Make sure you take this opportunity to show your engagement! If you can't think of anything else, you could ask something about the day to day work in the position for which you are interviewing. Ask what does success look like in this position. Ask what the challenges are in the position.

GOOD LUCK!
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Anahi’s Answer

When answering the question "Tell me about yourself" in an interview, it's important to strike a balance between providing relevant information and keeping your response concise. Here's a suggested approach:

1. Start with a brief introduction: Begin by sharing your name and a professional greeting, such as "Good morning/afternoon, my name is [Your Name]."

2. Provide a professional summary: Offer a concise overview of your professional background and relevant experience. Highlight key accomplishments, skills, and qualifications that make you a strong fit for the position.

3. Emphasize relevant experiences: Focus on experiences or roles that directly relate to the job you're interviewing for. Discuss your achievements, responsibilities, and how they align with the requirements of the position.

4. Share your motivations: Talk briefly about why you're interested in the role and the company. Mention aspects of the company's mission, culture, or values that resonate with you and why you believe it's a good fit.

5. Connect your background to the position: Make a clear connection between your background and the skills needed for the role. Mention specific abilities, experiences, or achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the position.

6. Conclude with enthusiasm: Wrap up your response by expressing your excitement about the opportunity to contribute to the company and how you're eager to bring your skills and experiences to the role.

Remember to keep your response focused, concise, and tailored to the position and company you're interviewing with. Practice your answer beforehand to ensure you can deliver it confidently and smoothly.
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David’s Answer

Be authentic and answer the question openly and honestly. Depending on the job you are interviewing for you may want to weave in your traits that show a great fit, but make sure your response provides a snap shot of who you are. Resist the urge to provide a response that you think the interview wants to hear as you may not have insight into the intent of the question. Are you well rounded, detail orientated, innovative or a myriad of other attributes are all opportunities to ensure the position which you are interviewing for is the right fit. Remember, an interview goes both ways in determining if a candidate, a position and a company are right for each other. Best of luck in your search!
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