It is easy to interview for a job when you have ten years of professional experience. You can talk about your roles, projects you’ve worked on, milestones you achieved, mistakes you made, and lessons you learned along the way. Experienced professionals can talk for hours about their career. But what to do when you have almost nothing to talk about? Most fresh graduates face this situation when looking for their very first job. Because “Can you tell me something about yourself?” is still the most popular interview question in the world, regardless of whether you interview for an entry level or senior position. You will simply face it.
As a rule of a thumb, regardless of your age, you should focus on your strengths in your introduction. And since professional experience isn’t your strength once you’ve just graduated from high school or college, you have to focus on something else. And you have many options: Your personal traits and abilities that make from you a good candidate for the job. Your desire to learn and improve and grow in the company, and a strong motivation to do well. Relevant education for the role. You can even talk about hobbies and free time activities that somehow relate to the position you try to get.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I tried to include a variety of answers on my list, talking about different things, including some unconventional choices. Go through them, think about your own situation and about the message you want to convey in the interviews, and eventually try to come up with your own perfect answer. Below the list of answers you will find some additional hints on how to deal with the question and make a good impression on the hiring managers.
7 sample answers to “Tell me about yourself” interview question for fresh graduates
- My name is Jane, I’ve just graduated from finance and investment, and I’ve studied this subject with a clear goal in mind: To get an entry level FP&A job in one of the Fortune 500 companies, and start my career from there. My goal gave me motivation to study hard and become one of the best students in the class, and now I am incredibly excited to interview for this job with your company. When not dreaming about working here or studying, I enjoy cycling and cooking, and spending time with friends from college.
- I would characterize myself in three words: responsible, motivated, friendly. And I believe it a great combination for any first point of contact job, just like the one I try to get with your hotel. And though I haven’t yet had a chance to work anywhere, because I just graduated from high school and preferred to focus fully on my studies, instead of distracting myself with some part time job, I consider myself ready for this job, both physically and mentally. Apart from that I am just a normal guy who enjoys playing computer games or going out with friends. Is there anything in particular you’d like to know about me or my education?
- Well, as you can see on my resume, I’ve just completed my bachelor in management. But I did not limit myself to studies only. On the contrary, I tried to gain basic working habits, taking various part time jobs, in a library, fast food restaurant, night club. And though the jobs did not help me with my managerial skills, I’ve learned many important lessons in them. At the end of the day, you interact with people in every job, face challenges and conflicts, and have goals or quota to meet. I believe my experience will help me in my first real job, and perhaps it even gives me an edge when you compare me to other job applicants.
- 19 years old, fresh graduate, avid programmer and gamer, and someone who prefers work to studies, but at the same time someone who never stops learning. I can code in C++ decently, as well as in Java, and want to learn Python and other languages. Instead of spending years in college learning lot of theory, I prefer to study on my own, learning things I can realistically apply in doing what I enjoy doing for a living–programming. Here I am, hoping to get my first job in your game studio, and from there on sky is the limit really.
- To be honest, there isn’t much to talk about. I’ve been an average student. In my free time I enjoyed long walks with my dog in the nature, and I’ve never striven for recognition in some competitions. Hence you won’t find much on my resume. Having said that, I really love dogs, and have a special motivation to work in your dog shelter. Because I’ve learned many things by experience with my own dog, and I definitely see a meaningful purpose in what you do here. What’s more, my expectations aren’t high when it comes to salary, career growth, and similar matters. I just want to work with animals, and enjoy every day, seeing purpose in my work.
- John, 20 years old, just graduated from high school. I would characterize myself as an active person, someone who enjoys straining both his physical and mental limits. Endurance running, chess, and paddle boarding top the list of my hobbies. And I believe that my attitude will help me in any job, especially when dealing with heavy workload or facing deadlines. I know what it means to try really hard, and I am ready to deliver. Hopefully you will give me a chance to prove it in your company.
- Martina, 23, just finished my studies, and trying to find my place in the world. More than anything else I am eager to learn and try different things, and a big corporation when one can try a variety of entry level roles and works in a diverse team seems like a perfect place for me at the moment. What more to say? Like everyone else, I have my strengths and weaknesses, and things I like to do in my free time, such as dancing or knitting. And I always try to stick to the following motto: Every day is an opportunity to become better, in whatever we do…
How you talk and express yourself matters more than what you say
You should realize a few things at this point. First of all, your lack of experience is no showstopper. They would not invite you for an interview if it was the case. Feel free to tell them you’ve never worked anywhere, and express your enthusiasm for finally applying for a real job.
Secondly, this is mostly an icebreaker question. You should not spend ten minutes talking about various subjects you’ve studied at school and grades you’ve earned. Such things do not interest the hiring managers. Focus on your strengths–personal traits and abilities important for the job, relevant education, any working experience (part time, volunteering, student company), your motivation, and how the job you try to get is a good match for all these things.
Last but not least, asking “Tell me about yourself” question, most interviewers simply try to get a basic grasp of your personality and communication skills. As long as you talk with enthusiasm about the job and the future, keep an eye contact, and do not struggle to admit your lack of experience, you are good to go.
Remember that your goal with this answer isn’t to win a job contract. Your goal is to simply start an interview well, and make a good first impression on the hiring managers. They will ask you many other questions targeting your goals, motivation, preferences, and skills. And while you should certainly prepare for the “Tell me about yourself” question, it isn’t the most important question in the interviews….
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other tricky interview questions for fresh graduates:
- Does your academic record accurately reflect your capabilities?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
- What do you hope to gain from this experience?