It's the day of the interview for your dream job.

You got a good night's sleep, you prepped for all the possible "tough" situational questions they can ask you, and you're confident that you're going to CRUSH this interview!

Man with gray hair, dark clothes, and dark glasses smiling and pointing finger at you saying, The interview begins, and the first question the interviewer asks you is:

"Please tell us about yourself."

Woman sitting with her hands splayed out to the side, eyes blinking widely, and with a stunned expression on her face.

Since you weren't expecting this, you start stammering an answer, talking about your hometown, your favorite food, the time that you embarrassed yourself in front of your high school crush...

5 minutes later, your interviewer is...

A man sitting in a white chair and brown suit in front of plants. He is asleepwith his head resting on his right hand.

Oh, no! You are NOT crushing this interview!

But it doesn't have to be this way! Understanding the purpose of the question will help you come up with the answer you need to CRUSH IT!

Why am I being asked this question?!?!

"Please tell us about yourself."

Seems to be a simple question, right? But sometimes we make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Man rubbing the temples on his forehead, eyes half-closed, with a pained expression on face

Interviewers ask this question because it:

  • Helps both the interviewer and interviewee ease into the interview

  • Builds the direction of the interview in terms of what questions to ask next

  • Demonstrates your communication and soft skills


What could you talk about when you answer this question? Select all that apply.

How to tell them about yourself

Now that you know why interviewers ask this question, you need to know how to answer this question.

This is your first impression, and you DON'T want to ramble!

Woman sitting in front of lamp, reaches around behind her with a remote control, makes a motion to turn off TV.

Lily Zhang from "The Muse" suggests that you use these three time steps below to answer the question all about you:

1. Present

2. Past

3. Future

Present: what you're doing now

The first thing you want to talk about is what you're doing now professionally.

This includes talking about what your current role is, your accomplishments in this role, and the responsibilities associated with this role.

Two women talking to each other in a conference room with a laptop in front. The woman on the left is taking notes, Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

For example, you can talk about:

  • How long you've worked in your current role

  • Any awards you've received

  • Things that make you stand out in terms of accomplishments

Past: how you got to where you are today

We all had to start somewhere. So, tell your interviewer how you got to where you are today!

Woman standing in front of blue background with back to us. She turns and looks over her right shoulder with a smile. After you describe what you're doing now, tell your interviewer what you did before your current experience.


  • Work that's relevant to the job you're interviewing for now

  • Experiences that changed your career path and goals

  • How the work has developed you to become the person you are today

Future: what you're planning to do next for the company

This is where you seal the deal!

After you describe your present and past, talk about what you plan to do in the future, including why you are interested in this job.

A man and a woman sitting in an office setting facing each other and smiling. They turn and give each other a Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

This is where you show off that you did your homework.

When you talk about the future, mention:

  • Why you're making this career change

  • How this career change will benefit you and any future company

  • Your excitement and passion for this new change


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Jessica is interviewing for an accounting position. She has just been asked, "Please tell us a bit about yourself."

What's the best answer Jessica should give to this question?

A. "So, I was born in Ohio, and I graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up there, and I don't think anyone else from my family lived elsewhere. I have a dog named Fido, and I love eating chocolate and watching Netflix."

B. "I'm a recent college graduate, but I completed my internship at Lico Bank. While I was there, I helped in creating a streamlined process that improved the company's revenues by 10%. I'm looking for opportunities that allow me to take my passion for learning and applying new ideas, and since your company is new and values innovation, I'm interested in seeing how I can help you reach your goals."

C. "I've always wanted to become an accountant. I've studied accounting and watched a lot of YouTube videos on the most up-to-date accounting methods. Maybe working for your company would help me reach my career goals?"


What is the most appropriate response?

Take Action

Man standing in front of red back ground making check motion and saying the word

Now that you know how to answer "Tell us a bit about yourself", try it out!


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