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How to answer "tell us about yourself" in an interview

We've all been there. You walk into the interview room, shake hands, make introductions, and sit down. And the first thing out of the interviewer's mouth?

"Tell us about yourself."

How do you go about answering a question like this? Where do you start? Where do you finish? What do you include? What do you leave out?

Don't worry, here's how to prepare for when it inevitably comes up...

1. Think "past, present, future"

This is a great way to give your answer structure – both in terms of the time you spend on each section and in terms of what you actually include.

Start with something like: "I've been working in...", then move onto what you're doing in your role right now, then finish up by briefly summarising where you want to be in the future.

But remember, this is a starter question – don't feel as if you need to pack in absolutely every detail. Save some for later in the interview!

2. More work, less play

As a general rule, it’s safe to assume that when a hiring managers asks you to tell them about yourself, they mean in a more professional context.

It’s okay to throw in a few establishing personal details (where you’re from perhaps) and the odd flourish if you think it’s relevant or has application in personal context, but don’t turn it into a dating profile.

Probably best to keep it roughly 80 percent professional and 20 percent personal!

3. Practise!

This is one of the few mainstays of the job interview that rarely varies – the majority of the time you can be sure this question will come up in this way.

What does that mean? It means you're free to prepare your answer to near-perfection!

Go over and over your answer – record yourself on your mobile, talk it into the mirror, practise it on your family and friends!

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