“Tell me about yourself.”

You are certain to be asked this question during an informational interview and at the start of a job/internship interview. There are three parts to your networking story: your background, your interest in the field, and what you’re hoping to learn from your conversation.

Start by considering what you want your interviewee to know about you. Review your resume and choose pieces from your background you want to highlight. Avoid going into too much personal history and focus on information relevant to the opportunity. Highlight strengths from your background, which will help interviewers ask follow-up questions and allow you to direct the interview.

As a general guideline, your story should be under two minutes. Use the questions below as prompts to plan your answer:

  • What class year are you? What is your area of study?
  • Are there aspects of your academic background, experience, or research relevant to the conversation?
  • What have you done prior to this experience? Highlight what you were able to learn or accomplish.
  • What activities are you affiliated with at Yale? What is your role within the group? What experience are you gaining?
  • What sparked your interest in your interviewer’s field? How did you come to the conclusion that your interviewer’s field is one that interests you?
  • If this is an informational interview, why did you want to speak with them? What have you already learned about the field?

Finally, as important as it is to plan your story, it is equally important to practice. Avoid writing every word and memorizing it; this will make your story sound rehearsed. First impressions are made quickly, so aim to present yourself as a confident, self-aware professional.

Download the Telling Your Story Worksheet and check out the animated video to get started.