Interviewers often begin by asking that you tell them about yourself. They want a glimpse of who you are and if you respond effectively, they will have an idea of why you would be a good fit.

Below is an example of one way to respond effectively.

In this example, the candidate is interviewing for a job in fundraising. The job posting stated that the person must be:

  • adaptable
  • self-driven
  • persuasive
  • able to build relationships
  • skilled in research, writing, and speaking to groups.

Notice how the candidate focuses on the needs of the employer as they share recent experience, involvement, and interests.

“I’m a senior at the University of Alabama and, like other students, I’ve adapted to new ways of working and connecting with others. Recently, I completed a remote internship with ___, conducting research and writing reports. Observing the development officers confirmed for me that fundraising is what I want to pursue. I’ve always been persuasive when it comes to projects I believe in, from collecting canned goods in middle school to recruiting blood donors in college. I’ve pursued courses and other opportunities to strengthen my written and verbal communication skills. For example, last year, I participated in ___ where I ___. When I have time between commitments, I try to swim or cycle. I enjoy both, and have recruited a couple of classmates to join me in a triathlon. I’m competitive in most everything I do, and eager to apply that drive as your Associate Development Manager.”

Your response should be planned, but not memorized. Know the points you want to make and let them flow conversationally.

Practice several times to become comfortable hearing yourself respond a bit differently each time. If you focus on delivering it word-for-word, you may not sound natural in the interview.

Additional tips for responding to “Tell me about yourself.”