How To Answer Tell Me About Yourself (13 Sample Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

UPDATED 6/12/2022

Few interview questions are as deceptively simple as “Tell me about yourself.” After all, you know all about you, right? So, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

While it seems like an open invitation to talk about nearly any aspect of your life, that isn’t what’s happening here. That’s what makes figuring out how to answer “tell me about yourself” so tricky. If you don’t share the right kind of information, your response will miss the mark.

But how do you get it right? By checking out a few tips and tell me about yourself sample answers that you can use as a starting point. Let’s get started.

Why Do Hiring Managers Ask This Question?

So, why do hiring managers ask this question? Do they really want to get to know you better, or do they have another motive?

Well, it’s actually a bit of both. First, they want to see how you react to a question asked casually and without structure. Can you offer up a well-structured, informative response that gives them an idea of who you are as a professional? Or do you ramble about personal details that aren’t relevant to the role?

Second, they want to get a feel for what you deem to be “important.” The aspects of your career that you highlight give them a surprising number of clues about your preferences, priorities, and values, making it easier for them to assess your mentality and determine if you fit in with the company culture.

Overall, hiring managers and recruiters may start making hiring decisions in as little as 90 seconds after meeting you. Since that’s the case, you need to take it seriously when a hiring manager asks you, “Tell me a little about yourself,” as that’s normally one of the first questions you’ll face. Additionally, you want to use a great strategy to create your answers. More about that in a moment.

How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself

Alright, now that you know why this question is asked, it’s time to dive into how to answer “tell me about yourself.” Here’s a quick step-by-step process you can use to craft an outstanding response.

Use the Tailoring Method

First things first, you want to use the Tailoring Method to build your answer. That ensures your response is as relevant to the hiring manager as possible, allowing you to speak to their needs and preferences while you share details about your professional history.

Generally, you can find out a lot about what the hiring manager wants to know with a bit of research. Review the job description to find out more about the skills and traits their after, as well as the duties you might encounter. Then, review information about the company, including its mission, values, and products or services. That way, you can talk about points that will pique the hiring manager’s interest right at the beginning of the meeting.

Use a Chronological Approach

Overall, this is an interview question where your answer should feel like a story. Using a chronological, narrative-style approach lets you show the hiring manager how you’ve grown in your career, highlighting the occasional relevant achievement along the way. It keeps your answer compelling, all while making the details easier to follow.

Avoid These Mistakes

Along with crafting a great answer, you need to make sure you avoid certain missteps. Here are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid along the way.

1) Regurgitating Your Cover Letter and Resume

The “Tell us about yourself” question isn’t an invitation for you to simply list off the same accomplishments you put on your resume. Yes, it’s important for you to highlight moments in your past when you were successful, but the real power lies in bringing more to the table, providing the hiring manager with relevant details that didn’t fit on your application.

2) Telling Your Life Story

This is probably the most common mistake that people make. Why? Because it’s the easiest way to answer this question.

Don’t start talking about where you were born or what you did as a child. Unless an experience relates to your career, it doesn’t typically belong here.

3) “Well, What Do You Want to Know?”

An answer like this tells an interviewer that you’re unprepared. Plus, it comes off as a bit combative. In either case, it’s a bad first impression and could cost you the job.

4) The 10-Minute Monologue

Don’t go off on a ten-minute monologue all about you when you’re asked, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Instead, keep it short.

For most interview questions, responses between 30 seconds to four minutes are ideal. With this one, something in the 60 to 90-second range is likely best. There are going to be a lot more questions coming down the pipe that will allow you to elaborate on your various experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of them at once.

Just remember, this is just one question the hiring manager could ask you in your interview! That’s why we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview.

Click below to get your free PDF now:

Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.


Top 13 Tell Me About Yourself Answers

Okay, it’s almost time to dig into the tell me about yourself examples. But before we hop in, there’s something else we need to mention.

When you’re looking at a tell me about yourself sample answer in the list, understand it’s only supposed to be inspiration. Along with showing you what an outstanding answer looks like, it can help you come up with ideas for your own responses.

However, the tell me about yourself answers below are only starting points. You shouldn’t use them as written. Instead, you need to take advantage of the Tailoring Method, too.

With the Tailoring Method, you customize your answer to meet the hiring manager’s needs. That way, your response is as relevant as possible, increasing the odds that you’ll impress.

Since the answers below aren’t tailored to the job you’re after, they shouldn’t be used without some tweaks, at a minimum. Otherwise, just treat them as inspiration, ensuring you’ll know when your own answer is where it needs to be.

So, now that we’ve covered that, here are some tell me about yourself examples, representing a range of experience levels, industries, and roles.

Example 1 – Entry-Level Retail

I’m an enthusiastic, dependable, upbeat high school graduate hoping to take my customer service skills to the next level. I believe that retail is the perfect option for doing that, allowing me to engage with a range of customers and face challenges that will only help me improve.

While I lack prior retail experience, I have volunteered for projects that are highly similar. For instance, I oversaw a quarterly bake sale at my school, allowing me to get cash handling and customer service experience.

This role specifically taught me interest because I’m looking for a fast-paced environment where I can learn and grow. I am not just diligent but highly ambitious and willing to learn, which will let me provide real value to my first retail employer.

Example 2 – Entry-Level Tech

I’m a tech-savvy high school graduate looking to take my first steps into a technology career. Along with being highly familiar with productivity suites – such as Microsoft Office – thanks to my schooling, I’m also incredibly comfortable with Android smartphones and tablets. Additionally, often assist family members with their devices, providing support to individuals of all ages and with varying degrees of technical knowledge.

Since I’m highly passionate about the field, I believe this customer support role is a great fit. It’ll allow me to put my current skills to work, as well as develop new ones that will lead to a strong career.

Example 3 – Entry-Level Trades

I’ve had a passion for cars for as long as I can remember. While I initially explored my interest as many children do – collecting Hot Wheels cars – my continuing interest encouraged me to dig deeper. I began by assisting my father and grandfather with routine maintenance, getting a general overview of common processes. Then, I signed up for autobody in high school, giving me my first real taste for the work involved.

After high school, I transitioned to a trade school, broadening my skills to include a variety of repairs and maintenance activities. Today, I’m looking for an opportunity to put those capabilities to work, as well as continue to grow in my new field.

Example 4 – Recent Social Work College Grad

When I started high school, I already knew that I wanted a career where I could make a real difference in people’s lives. I began volunteering, spending time supporting a range of organizations. However, the experience that fundamentally changed my life was volunteering for an agency that provided support to the elderly.

Many older adults in our communities require far more support than they usually receive. Whether it’s rides to medical appointments, helping getting groceries, or having someone come and cut their grass, it made a dramatic difference in their lives.

After that experience, I decided that social work was my calling, particularly in the area of services for the elderly. I graduated at the top of my class and, during my studies, had an opportunity to intern at a local community support agency. I feel that my education and experience have prepared me well for the career that lies ahead and I look forward to doing my part to support those in my community who need it most.

Example 5 – Recent Engineering College Grad

Nothing quite captures my imagination and sparks my passion like bridges. I’ve long been a fan of these massive feats of engineering, so much so that I often went out of my way to explore as many as possible once I was able to drive.

During high school, I also joined a Rube Goldberg club. It allowed me to explore structures in creative ways, further increasing my interest in the field of engineering.

After my high school graduation, I headed to XYZ University to pursue a degree in structural engineering, ultimately graduating in the top five percent of my class. While studying, I had the opportunity to complete an internship with ABC Co., a leading engineering firm in the area.

Overall, my drive to create amazing structures has only strengthened as I acquired the skills and knowledge required to work in the field. Ultimately, I feel that my passion and capabilities combined make me an asset, and I look forward to securing a position that will help me get my career off of the ground.

Example 6 – Recent Physical Therapy College Grad

During high school, I was unfortunate enough to experience a serious knee injury while participating in after-school sports. While the injury was a challenge, one good thing did come of it; my passion for helping others heal.

As part of my recovery, I spent time with a kind, compassionate, and capable physical therapist. Their poise, knowledge, and ability to motivate me made my recovery far simpler than it would have otherwise been, and that experience made me realize that I want to do the same for others.

I ultimately headed to XYZ College to earn my Bachelor’s before heading to ABC University to complete my physical therapy education. Now that I’m licensed, I’m ready to take the next step and find a position where I can assist others as they walk down the road toward recovery.

Example 7 – Mid-Level Human Resources Pro

As the saying goes, people are a company’s greatest asset. Since that’s the case, I wanted to build a career that allowed me to help organizations manage their workforces more effectively.

I began by completing a Bachelor’s degree, giving me a strong initial foundation. After that, I landed a role as a recruiter, allowing me to dig deeper into hiring processes and providing me with crucial skills that help me spot genuine talent.

After a time, I added benefits administration to my plate. Additionally, I acquired my PHR certification as well as returned to school to secure my Master’s degree. Once that’s complete, I plan on securing my SPHR certification, as well.

Ultimately, my current goal is to find a company where I can provide value today and into the future, particularly as I expand my skills.

Example 8 – Mid-Level Accounting Pro

I grew up as one of those children where numbers simply made sense. As a result, I was fascinated by every mathematics subject as I progressed through my education and quickly decided that a math-oriented field would ultimately be the best fit.

During my studies, I interned with an area company, providing assistance to its accountants. This helped me acquire foundational skills, particularly when it came to reporting. After earning an accounting degree, I began working for a local firm, expanding my involvement to records management for my own set of clients.

Over time, my responsibilities expanded. Along with supporting 40 clients, I began attending strategy meetings, assisting with the development of new processes designed to increase accuracy and boost efficiency.

Today, I’m looking to continue on that growth path, acquiring new skills and expanding my responsibilities. My goal is to work in a management position, so I’m seeking out opportunities that allow me to contribute while also giving me the opportunity to take on projects that’ll send me in that direction.

Example 9 – Entry-Level Marketing Manager

Initially, I entered the world of marketing because of the amount of creativity involved in the field. I had a knack for innovation, coming up with unique ways to position companies to secure more market share. On average, I achieved growth rates of 18 percent, as well as improved customer retention by 200 percent.

However, as my career progressed, I learned that other skills were equally important. Research, organization, and collaboration are all essential, and I found I pulled on those more and more as time passed.

With each successful campaign, my leadership skills were increasingly helpful. I’ve had the opportunity to oversee small teams, ensuring that everyone collaborated effectively to achieve great results. Now, I feel I’m ready for the next step. That’s why I’m currently pursuing a management position.

Example 10 – Entry Level Sales Manager

I’m the kind of person who wants to help others make their lives easier to manage. As a result, I enthusiastically share details when I think a product or service is poised to do just that. Since that’s the case, sales was a natural fit.

However, during my six years in the field, I also discovered that I’m highly adept at motivating others. That’s why I was selected to manage several projects. Along with keeping myself on target, I was able to effectively coordinate the efforts of team members, all while keeping engagement high.

Those experiences allowed me to hone my management skills, giving me a strong foundation that I know will serve me well. I believe this position aligns with my core objectives, giving me an opportunity to provide exceptional value not just to the company but also to the employees I will oversee along the way.

Example 11 – Seasoned Customer Service Manager

I began my customer service career 12 years ago, initially handling calls in a contact center for a leading service provider. That frontline, hands-on time taught me far more than I expected, increasing my interest in key areas like experience management. Additionally, listening to my colleagues’ concerns gave me insights into operational efficiency and engagement, both of which have proven valuable.

Over time, I worked to expand my knowledge and capabilities. I volunteered for special projects, ensuring I could play a role in positive organizational change. In just one year, I was able to oversee my first project, and, a mere six months later, I was promoted to a supervisory role.

As I’ve moved forward, ultimately leading a department, I kept those initial experiences in mind. They allow me to see the situation through the eyes of customers and frontline employees, ensuring that any changes made benefit them both. Ultimately, that’s experience that I want to take to a new company, allowing me to improve new workplaces for everyone.

Example 12 – Seasoned Warehouse Manager

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work my way up. I initially began as an order packer with a major online retailer. As time progressed, I gathered new skills, including in critical areas like inventory management and operational safety.

In short order, I began transitioning into supervisory roles. At first, I supervised a small team, though I was soon overseeing an entire department. After two years at that level, I began managing full warehouse floors, directing the work of more than 100 employees. Additionally, I played a key role in advancing our operations, including spearheading an IoT initiative to improve efficiency.

Today, I’m looking to move my career forward by taking on a new challenge. The expanded duties that come with this role genuinely caught my eye, and I’m hoping to secure this position – or one like it – as quickly as possible.

Example 13 – Executive

For the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as the technology department manager with an industry-leading company. During my time there, I’ve overseen five unique teams, each comprised of 10 to 20 highly skilled employees.

Along with ensuring productivity, I developed approaches to ensure priorities were properly addressed and that everything was accomplished within budget. Additionally, I coordinated with the C-suite to gather input and facilitate its strategic vision, as well as coach employees toward greater levels of success.

Along the way, I completed my Master’s degree in IT, as well as several certifications in key areas. When combined with my leadership experience, I felt it was time to take the next step and seek out a CTO opportunity.

Putting It All Together

At this point, you should have a solid ide of how to answer “tell me about yourself.” All of the tips and tell me about yourself sample answers above show you what it takes to craft a great response. Use them to your advantage, but don’t forget to use the Tailoring Method, too. That way, your answers will be impactful and relevant, increasing the odds that you’ll impress.

Good luck!

FREE: Tell Me About Yourself PDF "Cheat Sheet"

Ok the next thing you should do is Download our PDF Answer "Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word for word" example answers to this dreaded question.

In it you'll find answers to fit a variety of scenarios including: if you just graduated, have no experience and more!


About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.