How to answer “Tell me about yourself” for Fresh Graduates

“Tell me about yourself.” is the most common question that comes up in every job interview. With experience in giving many self-introductions throughout your schooling years, you may think this is an easy question to answer. However, the answer your interviewer is looking for is not how you will answer in a casual setting. In this article, we will be covering tips on how to answer this question in a professional setting.

What to Say

The interviewer’s main objective for asking this question is to understand your background and determine if you are the best candidate for the job.

A simple way to answer this question is to use the Present, Past and Future method because it helps you to give a succinct self-introduction.

1.     Present

Firstly, always start off your answer with your current situation. This includes mentioning your latest education and the school activities you were involved in.

2.     Past

After mentioning your current situation, take a step back and talk about your past. Highlight your interest and past relevant experiences (if any) to show the interviewer that you are the right candidate for the job.

3.     Future

Lastly, conclude your answer by stating your future aspirations. This section is tricky to answer because you might not have a clear idea of it. Avoiding giving a vague answer as your interviewer might feel that you are covering something up. This makes you appear less trustworthy and therefore, a less ideal candidate. Hence, do take some time to think about it and weave it into the entire answer.

Things to take note

As mentioned above, your interviewer is trying to determine whether you are the best candidate for the job through this question. Keep your answer succinct as this is only your first question. Do not include personal details and stories that does not add value to you professionally.

You also need to keep in mind that your answer should not be a summarised version of your resume. Your interviewer most probably read your resume before scheduling an interview with you. Hence, take this opportunity to highlight things that are not in your resume and show qualities that are desirable to your interviewer.

In the last section of this article, we have included a poor and an ideal answer for your reference.

Poor Answer:

Good Afternoon, I am Jonah a graduate from ABC University, with a bachelor’s degree in information technology. I really enjoyed the course as the professors there are really knowledgeable and encouraging. In addition, I am also an active member of 4 co-curriculum activities which includes diving, band, choir and hip-hop. I would love to take up more activities however my time are usually stretched quite tight so I couldn’t afford to participate in more activities.

Prior to joining ABC University, I grew up in a small town with a close-knitted community. I received a computer as my birthday gift when I was 5. Since then, I have developed a strong interest in information technology which explained for the choice of my degree.

In the near future, I aspire to climb up the rank and become the head of the information technology team.

The above example is a poor answer despite the candidate’s attempt to use the Present, Past, Future method. Notice how she shared personal information that is irrelevant to the interviewer (having good professor, not having enough time to engaged in more school activities, etc). By the time she states her passion in information technology, the interviewer might have already lost interest in her.

After looking at a poor answer, let’s move on to see how an ideal answer looks like.    

Ideal Answer:

Good Afternoon, I am Jane a graduate from XYZ University, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I was also the captain of our school’s netball team and was part of the organising team for the school’s annual arts festival in 2019.

I was first introduced to the field of marketing through the modules in school. Upon being equipped with relevant marketing knowledge, I took on 2 marketing internships and gained experience in different areas such as advertising and digital marketing.

I want to stay in the field of digital marketing in the foreseeable future and my goal is to complete the internal training for this position and become one of the leading staff in the marketing team.  

This candidate gave an ideal answer because she doesn’t ramble on about her personal stuff. She keeps her answer succinct and only shares information about herself that is relevant to the job position.

The above article sums up the tips to answer the question “Tell Me About Yourself” in a professional context. After knowing the tips, the key now is to craft an answer using the Present, Past and Future method. Preparing your answers beforehand will help you to keep your cool and give a smooth delivery. This will help to create a good first impression on your interviewer.

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