How to talk about your work experience in a job interview?
March 06, 2020
You have successfully given an answer to the “tell us about yourself” question to the interviewer. You thought that was the most dreaded question to come your way.
But as the interview moves forward, the interviewer asks you to tell them about your past work experiences.
You sit there thinking and structuring your answer and you end up taking most of the interviewer’s time.
You are stuck on what to mention and how to answer, so you simply start with “As I have already mentioned in my resume, I have done this and blah blah blah..”
You have left the interview and kick yourself in your mind thinking why didn’t you prepare prior.
Now that was not a way to give an interview, right?
The first mistake you made was you mentioned the already things in the resume and second you took too much of time of the interviewer.
If you are reading this, have you found yourself in this similar or other situation and didn’t know how to effectively answer that particular dreadful question which actually makes or breaks your interview?
Whatever issues you had in the previous job, the reason you left or you got fired or resigned, when this question comes your way, you should have been thoroughly prepared.
The prime reason to ask this question is to know your working manner, how you were in your previous job, what makes you stand out from the other competitors and how much you have changed in the last 6 months.
Remember, they don’t want to know how you were a year ago but they want to know about the present you and what shaped you in the last few months.
Before you go to the interview:
1. Write down how you plan to answer
A day prior to the interview, write the list of duties, responsibilities and tasks you did in the previous job. Write each and everything that comes into your mind. Don’t filter out even the smaller tasks.
Once you have made a whole list of things, go through it and filter out the most important and valuable work you did in your past job.
Action Tip: Pick top 4 things.
Structure each point in max 2 sentences. Write the work you did, the target you achieved and what problems did you solve.
“In the last quarter of 2019, I helped increase the traffic of the ABC organisation by 15% through content marketing.
2. Align your points to the job description
Study the job description carefully for the position you are applying for.
According to the job description, write down the previous work you did and how it matches the current position.
During the interview, as much as possible help them understand how you solved problems in the past in your field in a matter of time and how this skill will help them in the future.
Briefly tell them how you wish to carry out the tasks and what is your process as it tells them you are a person of discipline and gets things done.
If your job description includes targeting customers through networking. You can include, how you managed to bring in clients through B2B act
3. Review your resume
Before going to the interview, once go through your resume.
Remove unnecessary details and only add the important work you did in the work experience sector.
While answering also keep in mind to only include two tasks mentioned in the resume.
Otherwise, mention activities you did which are not in the resume.
They have already read your resume.
Make a point to not talk about everything written in the resume and form your answers based out of the resume and related to your job.
How to answer the question (some action tips):
1. Less is more
No more than two- three sentences should be focused while describing one particular task.
2. Measure out your experience
Map out your sentence by adding the numbers you achieved, how much profit you brought in the company, improvements you did other than your field and accomplishments you got.
Give out your data in the form of simple sentences.
3. Don’t use filler words
Cut down the filler words as much as possible.
They are uh, uhm, like, so, okay, right ,etc.
These just make you look unprofessional and too much use of it makes you seem like you don’t know how to make a sentence.
4. Be authentic
Do not write fake experiences in your resume. While answering be genuine and authentic about the work you have done even if it is small. They can smell liars from miles away.
5. End note
End your answer with a purpose of what you expect to do in the current organisation you are applying for and what are your plans for it.