"Tell me about yourself," your interviewer begins.

A cartoon character moving towards another character saying,

These are four words that can stop any jobseeker in their tracks.

You know your strengths and weaknesses, researched the company, and prepped for this moment. Here is your chance to make a great first impression.

A man in a suit trying to drink water but his hand is shaking and it spills all over him.

Before you let your nerves get the best of you, learn some strategies to tell them about yourself effectively in 1 minute or less.

Reasons Behind this Question ❓

Many interviews begin with "tell me about yourself" or a variation of that statement. It's important to use that time to introduce yourself to the audience and set the stage for the rest of the interview.

Two women sitting together at a table talking to one another. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Why do they ask this question?

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It gives the interviewer a summary of your experience.

This is an opportunity for the interviewer to learn about your background, skills, and how they connect to the job at hand. Sometimes, they may not have had an opportunity to read your whole resume beforehand. Your answer will provide their first impression of you.

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It gets the conversation started.

Your answer shows your confidence and your interest in the meeting. It also allows for an opportunity to "spark a casual conversation." The interviewer can determine how well you communicate and connect with the team.

Possible Variations to this Question❓

There are different ways that an interview may begin. Be prepared for different interview openers so that you don't feel caught off guard.

A man with a hat and glasses with the phrase,

Be on thelookout for some of these variations to "tell me about yourself" that also give you a chance to introduce yourself:

  • "Take me through your resume."

  • "I'd love to learn more about your journey."

  • "Describe yourself."

  • "Tell me a little bit more about your background."

Key Strategies 💡

Whether you're talking with a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential coworker you want to use these strategies to present a clear picture of who you are in a short amount of time.

This applies to all interviews such as phone, video conferencing, and in-person meetings.

Two people talking.  A women is present in a laptop video conferencing, while the man is present at the table. Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

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Know your audience.

Research the company and know who is interviewing you, such as a recruiter or a potential co-worker. Know how your expertise and strengths can help them.

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Tell a professional story.

Share work experience in the form of an engaging conversational story. Discuss information that is relevant to the role you're interviewing for.

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Stay professional and relevant.

Discuss professional topics such as work, skills, certifications, school, and experiences. Personal topics that you shouldn't discuss are marital status, kids, and religious or political affiliation.

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Keep it short.

Introduce yourself in 1 minute or less. Remember, this is the introduction and the beginning of the interview. The interviewer can ask you follow-up questions if they want to know more.

Frame Your Response 🖼

You can use a frame to organize your response to the interviewer when introducing yourself.

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  • Past, present, and futureDescribe relevant past experiences, relevant experiences and skills, and your goals for the future, including your interest in the role you're interviewing for.

  • Present, past, and future — Describe your current role and skills, then link back to relevant past experiences, and move to your goals for the future, including your interest in the role you're interviewing for.

Check out the video below, in which career advisor Erin McGoff demonstrates examples of what not to do and how you can use the past, present, and future frame to organize your response.

Click here for a transcript of Erin's video 📄

Quiz: Raquel's Answer ✔

Now that you've learned about how to introduce yourself in an interview, see what advice you would give to HR expert Raquel Toussaint when asked, "Tell me about yourself."

Watch the short video of Raquel's interview opener and answer the question below.

Click here for a transcript of Raquel's video 📄

What advice would you give Raquel for her next interview?

A) Tell an interesting story about yourself.

B) Discuss your past relevant job experiences.

C) List all of the jobs on your resume.

D) Briefly describe your present role.


What advice would you give Raquel for her next interview? Select all that apply.

Preparation Tips 🌟

How will you know how to answer next time you're asked to introduce yourself?

Use these tips to prepare your response.

Alexis Rose from Schitt's Creek says,

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Make a bulleted list of what you'ld like to say during that specific interview.

Memorizing your introduction could result in you getting flustered if you miss a word, so try to be prepared without memorizing it word for word.

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Record yourself practicing your introduction.

Review the recording to check for a short length, brief responses, and a professional story.

You can use your phone or computer to record audio, video, or both.

Is your answer too long? 🌟 Try drafting out your response on paper or a phone memo, then rewrite it. Narrow down the focus until you're comfortable with the length.

Take Action

Now walk into your next interview with confidence and make a lasting impression!

A women mouthing the words,

Use these next steps to help you prepare for your next role:


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