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“Tell Us about Yourself”: How Your Response Can Cinch—or Sabotage—Your Chances

Many people are reticent to talk about themselves. They find it embarrassing or uncouth; however, when an interviewer opens with the usual, “tell us about yourself,” it is an opportunity to set the tone for the interview and set you apart from the pack of applicants. Banish bashfulness and stand out to your interviewers with a response that includes the following:

  1. Passion. Start with energy by telling what you are passionate about in your work and why. What defines your approach as a professional?

  2. Experience. Having introduced your personal vision, explain your background. Note your qualifications, the duties you’ve performed, and the results you’ve achieved.

  3. Competitive advantage. Highlight what makes you unique in your abilities, method, and perspective.

  4. Relevance. Close by tying your distinctives back into relevance for the position. What is it about your background and experience that makes you interested in this position? “Tell us about yourself” can seem like a perfunctory preface, but it’s not. How you respond to this simple, yet critically important question will either bore your interviewers or pique their interest to hear more. Fundamentally, this question is an opportunity for connection, both you with your interviewers, and your qualifications with the position.