QUESTION: How do I answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview? I never know what they’re looking for.

Kelly Donovan, Kelly Donovan & Associates

The interviewer won’t be swayed by hearing about your kids, hobbies, or other random information that doesn’t relate to how you can help the employer be more successful in some way. Provide a short overview of who you are as a professional and weave in your personal brand that differentiates you from other candidates—with a focus on the results you deliver for companies like theirs. Be concise.

Edward Lawrence, Getstarted LLC

They’re looking for a confident, friendly person who affirms having the skills needed to do the job. Don’t recite your life history or restate your résumé. Stay high-level. State some interests, accomplishments, and traits, and relate how they led you “here.” And keep your answer to around one minute. The idea is to pique their interest and elicit more questions.

Liz Helton

The thing to remember is that an interviewer really wants to know who you are in relation to the job you applying for. You will always be asked a form of this question, so practice talking about yourself in a concise way – have this introduction at the ready for any professional setting. Then refine it based on the job for which you are interviewing.

Mary Jo King, Alliance Resume & Writing Service

This question is about your professional self, not your private life. Before the interview, think about qualities the interviewer will be looking for in a candidate. Reread your research, or at least the job post and your resume. With your your value proposition fresh in your mind, be ready to talk about your relevant qualifications and the ways you can contribute to organizational goals.

Norine Dagliano, ekm Inspirations

When asked this question, this is your opportunity to present your agenda for the interview. Begin your answer by sharing information that goes beyond what is in your resume. For example, why you chose your particular career or what motivated you to apply for the job. Summarize the key things you want the employer to know about you so he/she will ask questions around these.

Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans

This question calls for a two-part response. Part 1 is an elevator pitch covering your background, skills, and accomplishments directly relating to the position. Part 2 should address why you are on the market, emphasizing that you are now in a favorable point in your career that has allowed you to be selective. A career coach can help you to develop both parts into a concise and winning pitch.

Melanie L. Denny, Resume Evolution

What they are really asking is, why are you a good fit for this role. Start with you, but make it all about them. First, discuss your expertise and number 1 selling point. Then, give 1 or 2 quick examples of how your skills have added value to your past employers and show them how you’re able to use those strengths to contribute to this company.

Alisha Brown, Alisha D Brown Career Consulting

Try to focus on what you want them to know and how you want them to view you. Team work driven, relaxed mentality, involved in activities in a leadership capacity, etc. Recommend highlighting things about yourself that would show determination and goal accomplishments.

Kelli Long, KG Workforce Solutions

Be honest!! Tell them about yourself with topics that tie together your professional being and your personal being. Culture fit is important, so this is the manager’s way of learning how you work, what matters to you, why you do what you do, what drives you. Give them this information; not a narrative of your childhood and weekend hobbies (unless they are relevant).

Tammy Shoup, Breakthrough Resume Writing Service

The interviewer’s goal is to decipher whether or not you are a good fit for the position and your response should focus on your key skills and most recent experiences relative to the job opening. Practice presenting your elevator pitch (promise of value) so you are able to clearly conveying who you are and how your experiences will help the organization move forward.

Arnie Fertig, Jobhuntercoach

Remember that this is just a discussion starter, and not a request for you to give your whole autobiography! In just a couple of sentences describe yourself in terms of the position for which you are interviewing. You should have developed a personal branding statement and this is the time to use it! Show your passion for the kind of work the job requires.

Jane Roqueplot, JaneCo's Sensible Solutions

Your response may reveal personal information that should not be discussed, such as family situations or negative work experiences. Your response demonstrates your verbal communication style, interpersonal strengths and priorities. Do not recite your resume. Talk about your soft skills, attributes, and characteristics to demonstrate how you will be a match to the position’s specific needs.

Sally McIntosh, Advantage Resumes of St. Louis

They do not want to know your life history. Whatever you decide to tell them, make it relevant to the position at hand. Tell them something that visibly excites you. For example, if you are interviewing for a sales position, tell the interviewer about a big deal you developed and closed. It is an opportunity to brag about yourself. Try not to repeat the resume. Tell them something new.

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