“Tell me About Yourself” How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview

“Tell me About Yourself.”

“Tell me about yourself.” This is a common question that has the potential to be extremely nerve-wracking, depending on the situation. You’ll hear it at parties, on dates, when meeting someone for the first time and most especially at job interviews. So, how do you introduce yourself in these situations – especially a job interview? In this post, we’ll focus on how to introduce yourself in a professional manner.

What to talk about

Perhaps the first thing to understand is in professional situations, such as a job interview, there are appropriate things about yourself that you can discuss and highlight. And there are things that are better left not mentioned. Let me break it down for you: 

Appropriate

  • work experience
  • skills
  • qualities
  • strengths
  • achievements
  • credentials

Example: 

“I’ve been an English teacher for 15 years now. ”

“I’ve taught the language in different parts of the world, like Japan and Korea. ”

“Aside from English, I also know how to speak and write in Japanese and French.”

“I was recently awarded ‘Teacher of the Year’ in the current school where I am teaching.” 

“I’m very organized and I can work with minimum supervision.” 

You can add some positive personal qualities, too. But do not overdo it. Mention qualities that are relatable to the job you are applying for. 

“I love to read. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child. And I also love to write short stories.” 

 

Now, how about the inappropriate things you should NEVER mention in a job interview? 

  • any negative interactions or relationships in any previous jobs
  • downplaying your experience and skills
  • views on religion, politics and economy (unless the job calls for it, of course)
  • medical history
  • financial problems like debt, loans, etc. 
  • careless language: cursing, foul words

Don’t say: 

“I left my previous job because I did not like my boss.” 

“My skills and experience may not seem much…” 

“I have very strong views on (religion/politics/economy)…” 

“I need this job so I can pay off an overdue student loan.” 

 

Be Confident – but not too confident.

Be confident, but not overly confident.

Here’s how you should answer that job interview question: with the right amount of confidence. It’s okay to be confident – in fact, it’s imperative! However, be sure to have concrete evidence of your accomplishments to back up your confidence. You don’t need to outwardly say that you’re amazing – it should already be implied in what you have accomplished. Oftentimes, when people say that they’re amazing, they forget to back it up! Have you ever seen a person who brags, but doesn’t have the evidence to support the wonderful things they have to say? You’re less inclined to take them seriously, right? Don’t be that person! So, when they ask, “tell me about yourself,” don’t be afraid to be confident, but be indirect about it. Show what makes you amazing, rather than simply telling them that you’re awesome.

It also goes without saying, that you should also present yourself as someone confident. Look presentable, clean, orderly, and dress appropriately. How you look at a job interview can increase your confidence in yourself. That in turn, will help you present yourself in the most positive light. 

Don’t Get too Personal and too Emotional

“Spirituality” isn’t relevant to the job interview!

It’s good to be passionate about certain things, but again, topics such as religion, age, and other personal attributes, should never be mentioned in a job interview. In the United States, there are various discrimination laws that prohibit employers from discriminating with regard to age, race, religion, disability status, and more. That being said, these points should never be mentioned in a job interview, no matter what.

Also, avoid other personal things such as your favorite color, your hobbies (unless they relate to the job), and your family life. When the interviewer says, “tell me about yourself,” they’re not asking for these information. These points are irrelevant to the job interviewer, and the job.

You should also refrain from sounding and being too emotional. A job interview is not a heart-to-heart talk, or a counseling session. It’s best to remain composed and professional. 

Do Your Research (and Don’t Be Negative)

It is a fine idea to do as much research about the company as you possibly can. Showing you’re very knowledgable about the company will impress your interviewer. It will also show that you’re truly interested and invested in the job opportunity. Whatever you do, do not be negative about the job opportunity, or even past jobs! Saying negative things about your past job may be an immediate turn-0ff to the employer. Not only is this behavior inappropriate, it’s also quite unprofessional. No one wants to work with someone who says negative things for someone they worked with or worked for. After all, what is there to say that you won’t talk negatively about this company after you leave?

What to say about yourself? Just positive, professional, and factual things 

Job Interview - tell me about yourself - accomplishments
Tell an accomplishment-oriented short story

When doing a job interview, use this as an opportunity for you to shine. Tell an achievement-oriented short story! In this video, Vanessa described a situation in which she was approached by a student who required extra help, and how her help impacted the student to the present day. Sevdha described herself with regard to her achievements as well. Sevdha gave concrete examples of how her involvement with the job resulted in an increase in sales, along with providing a measurable number increase.

Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to check out more videos at Go Natural English, and click here to learn about 12 conversation killers: what NOT to say when starting a conversation!

So… tell me about yourself! With these tips and points in mind, feel free to comment and tell me a little bit about how you would answer the question, “tell me about yourself,” at a job interview.

 

Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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