What to avoid when answering "what can you tell me about yourself"

Talking about outdated skills and experience
The employer does not need to know that you went to beavers, cubs and scouts when you were younger - try to only talk about skills and experience gained within the last 5 years.

This will demonstrate to the employer that you have continued to progress throughout university, improving your strengths along the way.

Listing information without explaining
This is one of the common mistakes that many graduates make when telling the interviewer about themselves. Don’t just read from your CV, you don’t want to send the employer to sleep! Make sure you explain key points clearly, demonstrating your passion and enthusiasm.

It might be an idea to prepare some notes with bullet points to ensure that you cover the main points, whilst avoiding relaying exactly what the employer already sees in front of them on your CV.

Being too personal
Whilst it is important to build a rapport with the interviewer, they don’t need to know your partner just moved to the area and you want to as well. This might suggest you’re not committed to the job itself.

As this is one of the first questions you are likely to be asked at the interview, try to concentrate on telling them about your work-related skills as opposed to your home life. Share your personality with the interviewer, but not personal details.

Towards the end of the interview, after you have answered some more questions you will be able to make a judgement on how formal or informal the interviewer is. Once you have a better idea of how the interview is going, then you can really let your personality shine!

Talking for the sake of it
When answering this interview question, your response should follow a clear structure. Having your points all over the place suggests you have a muddled brain and doesn’t set you up well for the rest of the interview. Although “Tell me about yourself” might sound open-ended, remember to keep your answer structured and concise.

Take your time when answering and try to stay relaxed. Use some of the techniques outlined in our blog on how to relax before an interview.

Going off point
It is easy to go off topic when answering this interview question. Try to focus on the experience which is directly relevant to the job you’re going for. Don’t lead by saying you’re a shoe maker if you’re sat in an interview for investment banking!