A Harvard student who received internship offers from Apple, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs explains how to answer 'Tell me about yourself'

Jessica PointingJessica PointingHarvard junior Jessica Pointing (pictured) has a helpful formula for answering one of the most popular interview questions.

“Tell me about yourself.”

It’s a simple question that opens many job interviews.

It’s also a question that Harvard junior Jessica Pointing has encountered numerous times.

She says it’s the most common question she encountered throughout all of her interviews for tech, consulting, and finance internships — which resulted in offers from Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, McKinsey, Bain, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

Pointing, whose website the Optimise Guide features educational and career advice for high school and college students, notes that it’s important to prepare for this question.

“You should already know the answer off the top of your head,” she told Business Insider. “It’s your elevator pitch. In addition to that, it’s probably going to be the first question asked in the interview. First impressions matter.”

So what’s the secret to crafting the perfect response to this common question? Pointing broke it down:

  • Start off with a brief introduction that includes your name, your school, and what you’re studying (if you’re a college student or a recent graduate). For instance, she starts with “I am Jessica Pointing. I’m studying physics and computer science at Harvard.”
  • Delve into some of the highlights of your résumé. Don’t overdo it — just mention some of the accomplishments that you’re most proud of.
  • Briefly talk about why you want to work for the company. Be specific to the role you’re applying for. Make sure to go into how your skills align with the role.

“That reminds the interviewer why you are a good candidate for the job,” Pointing says. And that, at the end of the day, is your ultimate goal.

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