Effectively Answering “Tell Me Something About Yourself”

Preparing for an interview? You shouldn’t underestimate the basic interview question i.e. “Tell me something about yourself” or “Tell me about yourself”. This interview question seems very easy to answer but in reality, it is most difficult to answer for many professionals. This is an open-ended interview question that has many ways to answer.

Tell Me Something About Yourself

As they say, first impression is your last impression and your first impression decided based on how well you answer “Tell me something about yourself”. So, how do you answer this question? Do you start reading your resume that is already shared with the recruiters? Should you be sharing your personal life experiences? What level of information should you be sharing? How would be frame or structure the answer to “tell me about yourself”?

You might have a long list of questions but don’t worry! You are not alone in this. Many experienced professionals struggle to answer this question effectively.

In this article, we will see how can we structure our answer to “tell me about yourself” question? and answer it effectively to leave a strong first impression on the interviewers. But before, let’s understand what exactly the recruiters want to know when they ask, “Tell me something about yourself”?

What recruiters want to know by asking “Tell me something about yourself”?

Most of the people sitting in your interview are probably going to work with you. Therefore, they need to know if you are the right fit for the work they have and whether or not they can count on you. Hence, you will require to connect with them on a personal level.

An interviewer expects the following things when he or she asks “Tell me about yourself”;

  1. They want to know you personally and would be interesting in understanding your personality.
  2. How can you positively contribute to the company?
  3. How was your past experiences and skillsets can benefit the project or position they are hiring for?
  4. How do you react to the ambiguous question?

Answer to this question leaves the first impression on the recruiters and the next questions depend on how well you answer this. However, there are few things that you shouldn’t be doing while answering “tell me about yourself”;

  1. Interviewers are not at all interested in your personal life therefore you should be adding it in your answer.
  2. Any experience or skills that are not related to the position you are being interviewed for.
  3. Don’t read out your resume because they already have it open in front of them.

Do’s and Don’ts for answering “Tell me about yourself”

The following are some of the key Do’s and Don’ts that you should follow while structuring your answer. This will summarize the content you should be considering while drafting your answer to this question.

To DO’s

  1. Start with a pleasant smile
  2. Explain your current company, your role, and responsibilities
  3. Talk about your previous experiences
  4. List down the relevant skills
  5. Don’t forget to mention your recent and relevant achievements and awards
  6. Tell them, what you can do for the company
  7. Make sure to read the job description and be super-specific to it while answering.
  8. Be confident while answering the question.
  9. Your answer should be in a story format i.e. it should have a beginning, middle part, and an effective ending.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t mix your personal information that is not relevant to your job interview.
  2. Don’t share your political or religious views
  3. Don’t be too long and your answer should not be lasting more than 2-3 minutes.
  4. Your interviewer doesn’t want to know about your childhood hence, avoid mixing it.

How to structure your answer to “Tell me something about yourself”?

Your answer to this question should be precise, specific to the job description, and interesting. I would recommend to follow the Present – Past – Future approach for structuring your “tell me about yourself” answer. This is how it is done;


  1. Present
    1. Explain your current role and experience in the organization
    2. What are your key achievements in the current role?
  2. Past
    1. Where were you working before the current job?
    2. What are your experience and accomplishments?
    3. What did you learn that helped you to reach the current level?
  3. Future
    1. What are you looking to do next?
    2. What are you expecting from the job you have applied to?

Don’t forget to mention your technical and interpersonal skill sets, educational qualifications, and certifications related to the job or position you are applying for. Structure your “tell me something about yourself” answer by following present-past-future formula and write it down. Now, read it out and modify it until you feel it satisfying.

Let’s see a “Tell me something about yourself” answer’s example;

Example answer to “Tell me something about yourself” question for a Business Analyst

This is how Ross Geller who is working in Microsoft as a senior business analyst will answer “Tell me something about yourself” in google.

“Well – My name is Rose Geller and I am 32 years old.

I have been working as a senior business analyst with Microsoft for more than 5 years now. During this time, I have worked on multiple projects and successfully meet the business expectation.

Before joining Microsoft, I was working as a business analyst with company X that was providing cloud-based HealthCare solutions for payers and providers. I was also leading a team of 5 professionals and was able to meet the deadline.

I am graduated from the ABC university and specialized in Computer Science. I also have CBAP certification that helped me to enhance my skillsets and deliver the best in the company I am working in. I have strong communication and client relationship building skills. I’m a healthcare domain SME and have a basic understanding of SDLC – Waterfall and Agile, SQL, Cloud computing.

Now, I am looking forward to expanding my experience across different industries. Particularly Google, which is why I am interested in your company.”

That was a satisfactory answer. Let’s go through some key tips that you will find helpful while answering “tell me about yourself”.

Read Also… How To Become A Business Analyst Without Experience?

Important tips to answer “tell me about yourself”

1. Know your audience

It is very important to know the audience i.e. who is your interviewer? It is a project manager, HR, Director, etc. It is required because your answer will depend on the audience. You might not want to answer the same thing that you will answer the project manager or lead. E.g. Your HR will not be interested in technical skillsets and they might not be able to get it as well.

2. Keep it short and interesting

As I explained earlier in this article, your answer should be a quick story that explains your professional experience and skills relevant to the company you are interviewed for. Don’t stretch and don’t make it too short, however, you shouldn’t be taking more than 2-3 minutes to finish your story. You should know when to stop with an interesting line.

3. Read the Job Description

Your answer to “tell me about yourself” will be crafted based on the company’s requirements. Therefore, you should be knowing the complete job description before you appear for an interview. Every company or recruitment agency provides the job description while sharing the vacancy. You should customize your answer according to the job description.

4. Practice, Practice, and Practice

Practice multiple times until you feel satisfied. You can try practicing in front of the mirror. However, you shouldn’t memorize a complete resume. This will make your interview boring and the recruiters can easily catch you. Therefore, give some time in practicing your answer to “tell me something about yourself”.

Don’t forget to keep it professional and avoid personal information. These were the key tips for an interesting answer “tell me something about yourself” question and make a strong impression on the interviewers.

This will work great if you have the experience but what if you are a fresher or just graduated from a college? Well, you can refer the following “Tell me something about yourself example for fresher candidate”.

“Tell me something about yourself” answer sample for the fresher’s

This is how Rachel Green who just got out of college will answer this question in Intel company.

“Well – My name is Rachel Green and I am 21 years old.

I recently graduated from ABC University with a major in business administration. During my time in college, I learned about corporate communication, economics, corporate governance, international commerce, and more. I was a student of a year in the year 2018 and also activity involved in community work.

I am a hard worker and self-learner that has helped me to achieve a GPA of 3.8. Even though I have don’t have real-life experience, but I have worked part-time in X company for 6 months that helped me to get exposure to the business environment. A lot of my courses involved working with real companies to solve real problems.

Now, I am ready to apply my knowledge and skillset into practice and it would be a great opportunity to get started as an associate analyst with a company like Intel.”

Sounds great right?

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Conclusion

Tell me something about yourself – this question might sound very simple but most of the professionals struggle in answering.

This is the first question you will face in any interview and if you can manage to answer effectively, then you simply won the interview. Your personality and chances of getting hired are dependent on this question.

You can smartly structure the answer to “tell me about yourself” by using the “present-past-future” formula as explained in this article. Don’t forget the DO’s and Don’ts and important tips that are shared in this post.

Once you have your answer ready, practice until you feel confident. Now, you have “tell me something about yourself sample answers” for fresher candidates as well as experienced professionals.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it helped in your interview preparation. Please consider share with your friends on social media if you linked it. You can also subscribe to the BABeginners mailing list to get the latest article to your inbox as soon as it is published.

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