What have you learned in your last job?

  | James Innes

What have you learned in your last job?

Alternative and related questions:

What have you learned in each of your previous roles?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer could have asked, “What have you learned in your last job which will be of use to you in this job?” because that is what they’re driving at. They’re not asking you to talk about your duties, responsibilities or achievements. They’re specifically asking in what ways you have developed professionally while working in your last job (or any particular job of their choice).

Your answer:

It’s vital that your answer should cite one or more examples which are directly relevant to the role for which you are now applying. There’s no point in discussing something which isn’t going to be of obvious value to you – or, more specifically, your employer – in your next job.

The chances are that your previous role(s) will have prepared you in various ways to meet the challenge of your next job. Try to ascertain what is likely to be most of interest to the interviewer. What are the key requirements of this vacancy? What have you learned that will ensure you meet those requirements? Select at least one – if not two or three – ideas and turn them into strong selling points.

There’s no need to highlight how this relates to the role you’re applying for. It should be self-evident and, if you make a point of it, there is a risk the interviewer might think you’re just telling them what they want to hear.


My last job was an excellent learning opportunity and I developed my skills and experience in numerous different ways. While I already had strong IT skills, I didn’t have any previous experience of Microsoft Access. When my employer introduced a new order management system which used Access they gave me the opportunity to undertake additional training so as to be able to work effectively with this. I was then able to put this training into practice on a day-to-day basis and I am now extremely adept at using the package. I also learned a great deal about handling customers. My previous roles were not customer-facing so it was great to have the chance to develop this area of my experience.

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