How to Tell Someone About Yourself

Young woman with a mid adult woman holding coffee cups and smiling

Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Often, when someone says “so, tell me about yourself,” your mind goes blank. The options are so vast that it may be difficult to choose which details you might share with a new acquaintance. It’s always good to plan ahead with interesting facts about your life that will make good conversation starters and provide a well-rounded view of you as a person. Stick to the following tips to make a good first impression.

Keep It Positive

When telling someone about yourself, you want to keep the description upbeat and positive. Whether you’re in a job interview or on a first date, you’re marketing yourself, so you want the advertisement to be intriguing and relatable. It might be true that you dislike your job or you’ve hit the rocks financially, but if that’s the first thing you say, you’re likely to make a negative first impression. Ninety-eight percent of eHarmony users rated a sense of humor and a positive outlook on life as must-have qualities for potential dates. Stick to true facts that show your fun, healthy side: your love of cooking or your recent cross country cycling trip.

Consider the Context

You have plenty of details from which to choose when telling other people about yourself, so you should let the context of the situation at least partly determine your choices. Your description of yourself for a job interview should differ from your typical introduction on a first date, because you’re marketing your professional self. You should create a blurb for job interviews that focuses exclusively on your work-related experience and goals, says Alison Green, co-author of “Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results." If you’re in a friendly social situation, you should focus on more personal information.

Maintain Light Conversation

Focusing on personal information, though, doesn’t mean that you start treating the other person like a therapist. Avoid bringing up your romantic baggage or your deep, dark secrets, recommend eHarmony advice columnists. You shouldn’t trust strangers with your most personal information, and overt negativity and inappropriately intimate behavior will set off alarm bells for other people. Stick to positive, light information you would gladly share with anyone: your hobbies, your goals and your favorite movies or books.

Give Yourself One Minute

Nobody likes a bore -- someone who can go on and on for hours without concern for the other people involved in the conversation. When people say “tell me about yourself," they’re looking for an introduction to who you are. Practice a one-minute blurb about your personality and interests, separate from your professional, interview blurb. Then, when someone asks you about yourself, keep your answer interesting and short. This will give the other person a chance to ask follow-up questions and offer personal details in return.