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How to answer ‘Tell me about yourself’ questions

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Published: 7 October 2021

Student

There are few more common questions in a job interview than ‘tell me about yourself’. 

Although it might sound easy, who knows you better than you after all, what you say can set the tone for the rest of the conversation. 

Answering it with confidence is a great way to put yourself at ease – it’s why many employers ask it first. 

It’s also a way for the interviewers to get to know you as a person, about the things you care about and are most proud of. 

Answering the questions 

Like every question you get at the interview stage, you should be able to answer it if you prepare. 

Think about your answer in three parts, and in this order. 

  • Present 
  • Past 
  • Future

Talk first about what you’re doing now. Are you a recent graduate? Do you work? Basically, how do you define yourself?    

Then look back at how you got to this point. What is your work history like? What was your focus at university?  

Finally, wrap it up by discussing your ambitions. If you want to be running a department, tell them. Just make sure your answer is catered to the company. 

Don’t, for example, say you want to work for yourself. That kind of answer shows you’re not interested in working for them in the long term. 

Some more tips 

Make sure, as with all things during the interview, that you are professional.  

Avoid talking about personal history, your hobbies (at least at this stage) or anything that can’t be tied directly to the role you’re applying for. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate when you’re talking. There’s a reason you applied for this job, so make sure you let that out in your answer. 

Does it use skills you learned at the University of Sunderland in London? Is it related to something you’ve liked since you were little?  

Find something about the job that makes you excited to do it and tie it to your work and education history. 

Be brief 

Looking at all the above advice, it can sound easy to talk a lot about yourself. Avoid this! 

Being brief, clear and engaging is the way to get your point across and make sure you’re leaving them with a good impression. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to practice your answer. Don’t memorise it but say it out loud a few times and make sure you know the points you want to make. 

That’s a lot to think about, especially for the very first question. But remember, proper preparation is the key to an excellent interview. 

Approach every likely question in this way and you’ll feel confident enough to get the job of your dreams. 

Whatever you decide to do with your future, the University of Sunderland in London Careers and Employability Service is here to help. 

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass or email them at careers-london@sunderland.ac.ukFind out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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