It can be really tricky working out how to respond when an interviewer says, ‘tell me about yourself.’ How much will you say? What will you leave out? How far back should you go. Luckily the answer is straightforward, and it won’t be long before you’ll know how to answer tell me about yourself job interview questions.
Prepare a personal statement or key message
Your first job is to prepare a personal statement or key message which sums you up professionally in a couple of sentences. For example, you might work in a store as a manager and it might look like this:
‘I am experienced and dedicated retail manager with experience in independent and multiple retail settings. I can work within budgets and exceed targets.’
You may have limited work experience, maybe just bar work, so it might be something like this, ‘I am a hardworking customer service professional with experience of busy and fast-moving environments. I enjoy making sure customers are delighted and seeing the commercial benefits that brings.’
Of course, you need to adapt it to your experience, but keep it positive and benefit focussed – exceeding targets and commercial benefits or great customer service.
Match to job requirements
Now that you have a key message, your next step is to summarise your work experience and main life experiences and relate and match them to the job requirements.
So, if a job requires a ‘committed and experienced supervisor’ think back on what you have done that can meet these requirements. It might look like this:
‘I left school as soon as I had the opportunity as I was keen to start working. My first job was in a bar. It was hard work, but my commitment meant I was promoted to team leader after six months. I worked there for another 12 months and having saved some money, decided to go travelling and work my way across the country….’
This shows commitment and demonstrates supervisory experience.
Don’t add irrelevant detail, unless a school trip when you were 10 inspired you to the career path you are now on, leave it out.
Practise and refine
Having summarised your work experience and matched it to the job requirements, add your key message to the end.
It’s now time to practise it by saying it out loud and refining it. When you are sure it is right, record it on your phone or say it to a friend or family member and refine it again.
It should last between 1 minute and 3 minutes.
Prepare to defend it
Your final job in learning how to answer tell me about yourself job interview questions, is to subject it to scrutiny. Ask yourself and answer questions about your experience.
For example: ‘Tell me more about…’. ‘Why did you decide to…’. And so on.
- Prepare a personal statement or key message
- Match to job requirements
- Practise and refine
- Prepare to defend your answer
Make sure you check out our 30 Tips For Job Interview Success