What have you learned and how have you developed?

  | James Innes

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

Alternative and related questions:

What have you learned in your last job?
What have you learned in each of your previous roles?

The meaning behind the question:

Ongoing personal and professional development is vital in many different lines of work. The interviewer will be looking for:

  • Evidence that you are someone who takes your continuing development seriously
  • Details of how you have developed in ways which will be useful to your next job

Your answer:

This question is similar to Question 24, “What have you learned in your last job?” but is sufficiently different for us to handle it separately. Yes, the interviewer will be interested in what you have learned in your last job but this a broader question and requires a broader answer – particularly if the interviewer has asked about the past five years instead of just the last 12 months.

You may have developed in numerous ways during the past five years but you should endeavour to select examples which are directly relevant to the role for which you are now applying. Talk about general ways in which you’ve developed as an individual, talk about specific training you have undertaken – and above all make it clear that you have been the driving force behind your development, not your employers.


Over the course of the past five years, I have made an effort to develop my skills and experience in numerous different ways. I have matured as an individual and my experience of working with others – both colleagues and customers – has contributed a lot to my interpersonal skills. I am also better able to see the bigger picture and how my role relates to the overall goals of the organisation. Having built up a broad range of experience, I am now much more productive in my role – and much better equipped to handle unusual or difficult situations. In terms of training, I have learned a range of new IT skills, including Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Access. I have also undertaken an evening course in business administration which has helped to shape the way I work and has given a formal structure to many of the skills I was already developing on a practical basis. I am also now a qualified First Aider.

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