Career Lessons Learned

An important part of preparing for an interview is recognizing the lessons you have learned in your career. These lessons are the most valuable part of your experience. They allow you to do more in the future than you have done in the past.

Few job seekers talk about the lessons they have learned in their careers during interviews. There are two primary reasons for this. First, the job seeker doesn’t want to detract from the experience they are describing. Any lesson learned is an indication of a less than perfect performance. If you completed a task perfectly, what could you have learned along the way? Often we learn by making mistakes, and few job seekers want to discuss their mistakes. The second reason job seekers avoid lessons learned is they are not in the habit of assessing and discussing their performance on a regular basis. This causes them to skip over the things they learned.

These two reasons actually demonstrate weaknesses in the job seekers. If you are afraid of admitting you didn’t know everything in a situation, it is unlikely you will ask for help when you need it. Hiring managers can pick up on this. They are looking for people that can deliver results, and they understand that no one is perfect. What is important is how you deal with mistakes and failures, and what you took away from the experience.

You can also make a good impression by showing you can self-assess your performance and professional development. A job seeker that knows what they are good at and where they struggle is much more likely to avoid problems. This also demonstrates a commitment to get better. If you don’t care about your performance, it’s unlikely you will deliberate on it.

When preparing for an interview, consider the major challenges, projects and accomplishments from your career. Think about each, focusing on what you did and the results you achieved. Then, second guess your actions. What would you do differently with what you know now, and how would the results be different. If you are prepared to discuss the lessons you learned throughout your career, you will be much more successful in interviews.