How to answer “Tell me about yourself”
It’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable when someone says “Tell me about yourself.” From the days of kindergarten, we’re trained to conform with the masses. Talking about yourself seems culturally backwards to most.
Adults learn by experience that personal stories (i.e. talking about yourself) are wildly important for strong business relationships. Customers, clients, and partners want to know what kind of people they’re dealing with.
Communication is often categorized as verbal, nonverbal, and written. This post focuses on verbal. That includes face-to-face interviews, Zoom calls, or casual conversation with teachers.
High schoolers need to have a response ready for “Tell me about yourself.”
Let’s get into some tips for teenagers to set themselves up for success in verbal communication!
Do your homework.
Prepare a few stories for the most common situations you’ll be in. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Internship or job interview. What kind of career are you interested in after high school?
- College admissions. Why do you think you’re a good fit for this school?
- Coworkers. What do you do for fun in your spare time?
When you’re answering an open-ended question, it’s easy to fall into the trap of meandering. You find yourself hopping from a tale about the 2nd grade spelling bee to 10th grade soccer camp to your dad’s crazy sock collection to that time your sister ran out of gas. Focus. One topic at a time. Pause. Listen.
Less is more.
While your grandma may have said you have the most interesting life story ever, leave the other person wanting more. Let them ask follow-up questions. That means keep your stories concise. Aim for 1-minute stories.
Silence is ok.
The most common response to silence is too many words. The next most common is filler sounds like umm and uhh. Take a breath before sentences. Conversations aren’t supposed to be races. When you practice your stories, try counting to three between each thought.
The person listening to you is cheering for you. They want you to feel comfortable talking as much as you do, so relax. Breathe evenly and speak slower than normal. It helps to practice in front of a mirror.
Develop stories from your everyday experiences.
How’s your spikeview profile looking these days?! We’re here to help you maximize your opportunity. That starts with getting comfortable in your own skin. Know yourself.
As you add to your profile, you’ll see patterns emerge about the things you enjoy, your skills, and your dreams. These are the foundations for personal stories.
We’ll leave you with this video resource from Indeed.com.