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Avoid the Awkwardness of the Question "Tell Me About Yourself" in 3 Easy Steps

Preparing for a Job Interview

Networking can be hard. But it is doubly tough if you are looking for your next career opportunity. When the inevitable question of “So, tell me about yourself” is asked, do you squirm? Do you hesitate? Or do you have a plan?

If you are in a job interview, it’s best to be prepared.

Rather than feel intimidated with such a broad question, use the Present, Past, Future framework to break the ice.

Step 1: The Present

After researching the company and reviewing the job description for the umpteenth time, jot down some notes about your top skills that fit the position and the company’s culture.

Start with who you are now. Highlight the experience you have that is just right for the position you are interviewing for. The Present part of the framework answers the question of why you are interested in the job and company. Offer one or two concrete examples of accomplishments you are proud of.

Remember that the interviewer already has your resume, so you won’t need to recite it word for word. Instead, offer insight. They will want to see what’s between the lines. Your body language, your eye contact, your tone of voice.

Step 2: The Past

Review the motivation that set you on your present trajectory. Focus on an inspirational moment that helped you understand the path that set you in this direction. Highlight a pivotal moment from your past. Keep it positive and professional, don’t reference negative experiences during your “tell me about yourself” conversation.

Step 3: The Future

Finally, discuss where you see your future and how this career change will help you fulfill your passion and the company’s mission. How will you be a valuable team member?

The “tell me about yourself” conversation is always awkward, but the more you practice, the easier and more natural it will become.

So, tell me about yourself…


Along with her sister Marcy Stoudt, Alison Nissen co-founder Revel Coach, a career growth platform to encourage individuals to put dreams into action. She is an award-winning author, blogger, and podcaster who helps authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs perfect their business pitches and online presence.

Follow her Tales from the Laundry Room

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