How To Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” When Interviewing (With Example)

by | Interviewing

“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most common job interview questions. Yet, if you are like many job seekers, you may feel unprepared and unconfident in your ability to answer this question and craft a compelling elevator pitch. Moreover, talking about yourself can feel uncomfortable and anxiety-producing.

In this article, I share why an elevator pitch is important and break down my trusted three-step formula for answering the question, “Tell me about yourself.” I conclude with an elevator pitch example as well as final tips to create a memorable elevator pitch.

Why Is An Elevator Pitch Important?

“Tell me about yourself” will likely be the first question you are asked in your next job interview. Subsequently, you want to spend ample time crafting a memorable answer. After all, you only get one first impression.

Beyond the interview, your elevator pitch is going to be critical when you start your new job and introduce yourself to colleagues. Plus, you can also use your elevator when networking.

Elevator Pitch Formula

So, how do you craft an elevator pitch? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, I find this 3-part formula elevator pitch to work fabulously for most job seekers: Past + Present + (Future X Fabulous).

Now, let’s break this trusted formula down.

Part 1: Past

Begin your elevator pitch with a brief overview of your background. I recommend recounting two to three key points from your past.

  • Experience: What experience do you possess? Keep in mind that you do not have to disclose every position you have held. Instead, highlight a few of your most salient experiences.
  • Education: What professional degrees, certifications, and credentials do you hold? Again, you do not have to divulge every position. Spotlight your most relevant education.
  • Skills: What skills have you honed over the years? If you are switching roles or industries, be sure to communicate your transferable skills.

Part 2: Present

Next, share your “present” situation. Importantly, while this second part of your elevator pitch is technically focused on the present, can also reference past experiences and career successes, so long as they are relevant. 

  • Work: What is your current work? Describe the most relevant aspects of your role.
  • Accomplishments: What accomplishments from your career are you most proud of? Don’t hold back here. Briefly relay your biggest career wins.
  • Strengths: What are your strengths? Use the job posting to decide the strengths you share.

Part 3: Future X Fabulous

Conclude with the future. Speak to both the company and the role. But don’t stop there. Also, communicate what makes you fabulous (AKA what sets you apart from other candidates).

  • Company: Why are you drawn to this specific company? Be specific. Also, know that you will want to customize this portion of your elevator pitch for each interview.
  • Position: Why are you a perfect fit for this role? Once more, you will want to customize this portion of your elevator pitch for each interview.
  • Fabulous: What makes you fabulous? In other words, conclude your elevator pitch by explaining what sets you apart from other job applicants.

Elevator Pitch Example

The following is an elevator pitch example to serve as an inspiration and guide you as you practice answering, “Tell me about yourself.”

Elevator Pitch Example — Dr. Kyle Elliott

Hi, I’m Dr. Kyle Elliott. My pronouns are he/him/his. I began my business on Fiverr, an online freelancing marketplace, while in college to fuel my soy, sugar-free vanilla latte addiction. I charged five dollars for resume reviews and LinkedIn profile summaries. In 2017, I left my full-time job to dedicate 100% of my time to CaffeinatedKyle.com.

Now, I am a career coach and trusted confidant to some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley and high tech. I help senior managers and executives get unstuck, own their fabulousness, and achieve what they never imagined possible. I am also a professional speaker and regularly share my story with Fortune 100/500 companies, hyper-growth startups, and universities.

Moving forward, I want to continue to use my voice and platform to help people find jobs they LOVE, cure mental health stigma, and create a world where everyone owns their fabulousness. What sets me apart from other coaches and humans is that I do not accept “I don’t know” as an answer. This empowers those I work with to achieve what they never imagined possible.

Final Tips To Create A Memorable Elevator Pitch

Once your outline is complete, consider using your phone or laptop to record yourself delivering your elevator pitch. Then, watch your recording back. Take note of your verbal and nonverbal communication. Repeat this process until you feel confident in your elevator pitch.

Additionally, reflect on how you can add your personality to your elevator pitch. For example, some job seekers choose to inject an interesting extracurricular activity or relevant hobby into their elevator pitch to help take it to the next level.

Finally, know that this elevator pitch formula and the corresponding example are simply templates and tools to guide you. You may find it helpful to switch the order of the three parts of the formula above or add additional components. Many of my clients choose to reorder their pitches and begin their narratives with the present, future, or fabulous, rather than the past. And, as demonstrated by the elevator pitch example above, you do not have to answer every question in your elevator pitch.

The key to a successful elevator pitch is to find the right content, order, and rhythm that works for you and your unique career story. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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