How should I answer the question ‘tell me about yourself?’ in an interview?

“Tell me about yourself.”

It’s often one of the first questions in an interview. But what exactly are your interviewers looking for when they ask you to tell them about yourself?

Do they need your life story? Details on the swimming certificate you got when you were 6? Your relationship status?

No, of course not.

But how much detail should you go into and how can you avoid waffling?

Of course, the answer to this depends on where you are in life and how much experience you’ve had. But the general advice is the same.

Firstly, don’t just repeat everything that’s on your CV. They’ve read it, that’s why you’re where you are! This is your chance to tell your personal story that doesn’t come across in your CV.

There’s not a specific answer or formula for you to follow, just see it as a chance to break the ice and tell the interviewers about yourself.

Start with your most recent experience first, where are you now?

Then, explain what you got out of your:

  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Key achievements

Finally, explain what you want to do next (I expect what you want to do next is the job you’re being interviewed for!).

Keep it brief – we’ve already established they don’t need your life story, but really consider what they need to know.

Be truthful, but stay upbeat and positive, and be yourself!

And remember to practise it before your interview! This is your chance to make a good first impression. By practising, you’ll know what you want to say and be able to avoid tailing off and waffling. It should also help you feel and appear confident.

For more advice, and to practice for your interview, book an appointment with a Careers Consultant via My Jobs Online.