What Have You Learned From Previous Jobs?

LiveCareer Staff Writer
by LiveCareer Staff Writer

Knowing what you accomplished at previous jobs will help an interviewer understand what you have to contribute to this company. Therefore, it is pretty common to be asked, “What have you learned from previous jobs.” It is important to note that you are not being asked what you did at your last job.

Instead, you are being asked about what skills you developed, what you learned about yourself, and what you learned about the industry from prior jobs.

Having already learned key skills will make you highly desirable in a job interview, and it can give you a much-needed boost to stand out from the crowd.

Points to Emphasize

When talking about previous places of employment, there are certain things to emphasize in your response.

  • Mention skills that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
  • Discuss the professional and personal skills you have learned.
  • Spin any negative experiences into positive ones.
  • Align your answer with the values of the company.

There is a lot you learn with any job, but in order to avoid giving a long-winded answer, you should just focus on a couple of key things.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Misinterpreting the question can result in a less-than-stellar response, so plan ahead and avoid these common mistakes.

  • Avoid any complaints against a previous job.
  • Avoid talking about things you learned that won’t really help you with this new job.
  • Don’t focus on purely personal skills or purely professional skills.
  • Don’t say that there is nothing you learned.

There is something to be gained from every job experience, and if you cannot think of anything off the top of your head, spend some time before the interview thinking about it so that you will be prepared.

Sample Answer

A good answer to a question regarding skills you learned from your last job should look something like this:

When I started my last job, I only had a basic understanding of the fundamentals of SEO, but now I have learned how to run a successful PPC campaign and effectively utilize social media pages. I also didn’t have much experience with public speaking, but at my last job, I had to give several group presentations, and as a result, I feel I have become much better at delivering information efficiently.

A prospective employer is not going to want to hear that there was absolutely nothing you learned at your last job because every job should teach you something. By telling the interviewer what you have already learned, he or she is going to know exactly how you will be an immediate benefit to the company.


About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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