What Have You Learned from Your Experiences Outside the Classroom or Workplace?

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What have you learned from your experiences outside of the classroom or workplace?” is one of the common interview questions which many interviewees will face when they meet with a potential employer for the first time. This question may also be asked in other ways- such as- “What are some things you’ve learned in your personal life?” or “What skills have you mastered outside of your professional duties?”

Regardless of how theyre worded- these interview questions all seek to extract the same information from you. Experienced interviewers can use your response to determine how driven you are to better yourself as well as what truly interests and motivates you as a human being. After all- the obligations you choose for yourself are oftentimes the ones that say the most about how you function overall. While this question might seem very personal- creating an excellent response is a must for anyone looking to be seriously considered for the position they’re interviewing for. A little preparation can go a long way towards making interviewees shine during their meeting and increases their chances of receiving an offer.

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How to Answer the “What Have You Learned from Your Experiences Outside the Classroom or Workplace?” Interview Question

Choose a Relevant Subject: Whenever you’re discussing interview questions it’s always best to keep your content in line with the position you’re interviewing for. Therefore- when an interviewer brings out the “What have you learned from your experiences outside the classroom or workplace?” inquiry- it’s best to choose an aspect of your experiences that applies to the job you’ll be expected to do. For example- if your job involves working with customers or the public a great deal- it can be beneficial to highlight an instance in which you learned that sometimes a little patience and understanding is all it takes to get through to even the most difficult- stubborn people. Tailor your reply in a manner that answers the inquiry while still highlighting your skills and letting your interviewer know that you’re the right candidate for the job.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal: While this is not an invitation to offer your entire autobiography to the interviewer- it is an inquiry into your personal life- and therefore you’re free to share personal life lessons you’ve learned. While your professional demeanor is- of course- extremely important to employers across the globe- they may also want to know what your personal values might be as they relate to the industry which you’re applying to. While this will not impact your candidacy in most cases- it lets the employer know that you’re a human being underneath the professional façade and that you can communicate with others. Of course this doesn’t mean that you should lay your deepest- darkest secrets out on the table- either. Use your discretion when answering this question- and remember that the person in front of you is still a potential boss.

Focus on How Your Skills Will Help You in the Workplace: Just because you learned a particular skill set outside of the workplace doesn’t mean it can’t be utilized effectively there. After identifying your skills- take a moment to talk about how marketable they are in this particular field and discuss how they will help you to efficiently perform the duties that you’ll be expected to handle on the job if you receive an offer. This will show employers that you’re able to bring a great deal of different experiences to the table- regardless of where and when you picked them up.

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Sample “What Have You Learned from Your Experiences Outside the Classroom or Workplace?” Interview Answers

1. A few years ago I lost my mother- and it was devastating. However- it gave me a great deal of insight into life as I knew it and really taught me to appreciate the friends and family and everything else that I have in my life. I learned to cherish the things I care about before losing them- and I feel that this has really helped me become an overall better person in many aspects. I’ve become more patient in general- which helps me in the professional world as well as my personal life- and I’ve gained more focus on maintaining relationships of all types- including those with my coworkers.

2. The main thing I’ve learned outside of my job or schooling is that sometimes things aren’t as easy as they seem. I moved out on my own right after college and had no experience paying bills or rent- and for a short time I struggled. You think it’s easy until you actually try it. I learned to prioritize eventually- and now that trait helps me in every aspect of my life- even when I’m at work and have reports and paperwork coming at me from every direction. I just remember to take a deep breath and sort through the pile of work that needs to be done in order to assess the situation. In the end it’s a matter of doing what you need to do to get the job done right.

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