How Do You Answer Questions About Relevant Experience When Applying for a Job?

Have you ever applied for a job you didn’t feel entirely qualified for? Most of us have. Maybe you didn’t have all the skills listed in the job description. Maybe you’re new to the workforce and don’t have on-the-job experience. Or perhaps you are making a career change from one field to another and your previous job titles don’t match the ones you seek.

Don’t worry! You’ve likely got a lot of relevant experience that you can leverage to show what a great hire you are. You just have to know how to say so.

In this article, we’ll define what relevant experience is and discuss how you can answer relevant experience questions in your resume, cover letter, and at your interview. Check out this post for more information on including a relevant experience in your resume.

What Is Relevant Experience?

Oxford Languages ​​defines the word “relevant” as “closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered… appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances.”

Relevant experience, therefore, should be closely connected to the job you are applying for. It is also appropriate to the current time – it supports current societal norms and evidences proficiency with modern technologies.

Most of your relevant experience will come from your work experience and education. Really, any experience can serve as relevant experience, so long as it demonstrates a skill, quality, or ability you need for the job. Think about your hobbies and volunteerism.

Relevant Experience in Your Resume

First, you’ll want to include relevant experience in your resume. This is largely connected to the use of resume keywords.

Look at the job listing for the job you are applying to. Read it carefully. Write down the words describing the skills, personal qualities, experience, responsibilities, and education needed for the job. These outline the relevant experience you need. They are also great keywords to include on your resume.

Make some notes on your list. Highlight the experiences and qualities you have. Write down where you gained each skill and how you have used it. Get creative – you may find that you have relevant experience in the form of transferable skills from unrelated fields.

In your resume, include these keywords in your Work Experience and Education sections. Try to list not just tasks but accomplishments. Show how you benefited the companies you’ve worked for in the past.

You may find that only part of your experience at a certain job is relevant. For example, you may have worked in retail for several years, serving as a manager for only the last three months. Now, you’re applying for a managerial position in another field. It’s okay to focus your bullet point descriptions only on your managerial duties, omitting other unrelated tasks.

Relevant Experience in Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a great opportunity to highlight your relevant experience, especially if it is indirectly connected to the job at hand. Why? Because while still brief, your cover letter has a bit more room for wordiness and explanation.

You can use your cover letter to tell your hiring manager why you’re a good fit for the job. Again, focus on your most important experiences, those most closely related to the position you seek.

As mentioned above, relevant experience can also come from outside your education or career. In the second or third paragraph of your cover letter, you can briefly explain how your fundraiser organisation, volunteerism as a member of an organisation’s board, sports coaching, or computer programming hobby gave you an experience that will be useful on-the-job.

Relevant Experience at the Job Interview

If you’ve been called in for a job interview, you’re halfway there. This means your resume and cover letter communicated exactly what they were supposed to – that you are a good candidate for the job. Now, it’s up to you prove the same point with your words.

Your interviewer may ask about specific experiences mentioned in your resume or cover letter. That’s a good thing. You can speak passionately about your experiences, and elaborate on them. Remember to always point out how this experience adds value for your new company.

You’ll also want to be relevant to the company’s culture, vision, values, and mission. Stay informed. Look up-to-date information on the organization you’re applying to and the industry at large. You can often find mission or vision statements on their websites. Check out their social media. When you express yourself, do so in ways that do not conflict with the values ​​the company holds dear.

In Conclusion

Understand the company you are applying to and the needs of the position. Think about how your various experiences fill those needs. Clearly state your skills and accomplishments within your resume, cover letter, and during your interview.

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