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Tell me about your career so far


Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview questions > Tell me about your career so far

The question | What they are looking for | How to answer | See also


The question

Tell me more about your time at HP

Why did you choose to work in software?

You seem to have moved jobs every two years -- why is this?

What they are looking for

They may be looking for progression and structure -- do you have a planned career? Are you on track? This tells them something about your need for structure and also you ability and drive to achieve the things you set out to achieve.

Across a career you can see themes and patterns of change and evolution. They may look for what is driving you to leave one job or to move to others. Do you get bored? Do you start to fail and then jump ship? Are you fast-tracking your career?

How to answer

Career questions ask you about general or specific elements of your career. General questions are such as 'Tell me about your career' -- and then give you space to ramble on. Specific questions may probe into a particular area. This may be derived from the  conversation and it may have come from looking at your resumé/CV.

First, when asked about your career, do not launch into your life story. Think first about what will be your overall story, such as 'progression up the company ladder' or 'problem-solving that evolves from technology to organization problems', then tell a concise story about how you got to where you are now.

They may be interested in only the last few years or may want longer -- if in doubt, ask 'Where would you like me to start?'

Do not be afraid to tell about difficulties, but do tell about how you learned and grew as a result. Many powerful stories are about overcoming problems; let your indomitable and positive character shine through.

You know I've always loved racing. My high-school grades weren't good enough to get into journalism school so I did a degree in sports science and worked in a stables until I earned enough money to put myself through the UDM sports writer course, after which I worked on several local newspapers, always trying to cover horse stories until five years ago when I got a job as a junior on the Racing Post. It was a wonderful place and I worked my way up to be editor of the betting column. Now I want to move into working at racecourses and this job would be just wonderful.

See also

Tell me about when you were particularly challenged

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