It is easy applying for jobs when you have relevant experience. The hiring managers will simply look at your resume, and see that things make sense. They will invite you for an interview, and unless you blow it–which should not happen with the help of our content, they will give you the chance to prove your skills in the job, during the probation period. But what if you find yourself in a different position? What if you lack relevant skills and experience?
Perhaps you are applying for your very first job–everyone has to start somewhere. Or you’ve had just shitty jobs before, some fast food restaurant or assembly line, and finally try to get something better. And maybe you are tired from your present job, perhaps experiencing a burnout, and need to change your career, regardless of whether you will keep your living standard or not. In all these cases, you may find it hard talking about “helpful skills and experience”, either on your job application, or directly in the interviews.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this intriguing question. I tried to include on my list answers for people in different life situations (first job, career change, still studying, relevant field, irrelevant field), as well as couple of unconventional, thought-provoking answers. I hope at least one of them will resonate with your personal situation, and with the message you want to convey in your interviews. Below the answers you will find some additional tips on how to approach this question and avoid mistakes many job seekers do.
7 sample answers to “Can you tell us about any skills or experience that might be helpful in this job?” interview question
- This is my first job application, so I obviously lack experience with similar type of work. But I’ve read the job description carefully, know what is expected from an excellent employee in this job, and believe to have what it takes to become one. I can work in a fast-paced environment, and on my own, and I have excellent time management skills. At least my experience from school and volunteering makes me believe in my abilities. And I learn quickly and enjoy learning. To sum it up, I see no reasons why I would not do a good job here, even though I lack experience.
- I know it may seem strange that I apply for a job in HR, after working in IT for 7 years. In my opinion though, everything relates to everything. Working as a programmer, I had goals and deadlines to meet. And I had to participate in meetings and communicate with colleagues, just like any other corporate employee. I honestly feel that my experience from IT will help me in human resources work, though I also know I have to learn a lot, and am eager to do so. What’s more, I have this skills to tell people strengths and weaknesses quickly, which should help me in HR.
- My biggest “skill” is my attitude. I am still studying, and until now it hasn’t been possible for me to combine work with studies. Now, however, things have changed. What can I bring to the table? Definitely my attitude. I do not do things halfheartedly. Everything I devote myself to, I give my 100%, always. And you can be sure I want to keep this attitude in the workplace. Maybe other applicants have more experience, but I also believe this isn’t a difficult job, anyone can learn it, and perhaps in such jobs attitude beats experience.
- Everything I’ve done has helped me to prepare for this role. Earning my degree in finance and investment, working on my analytical and math skills, learning to work with relevant software programs, and eventually getting a trainee role in one of the big 4 companies. Both my skills and experience not might, but will be helpful in the job of a financial analyst. And I hope to get a chance to prove that in your company.
- My public speaking and negotiation skills might be helpful in this job in sales. Of course, I know that selling services isn’t the same as PR. At the of the day though, we also sell something in public relations–a story, an idea we want the public to believe in, an image of a company. That’s why I believe my skills and experience might help me also in sales.
- I do not have any, expect of intelligence and positive attitude to work and life. Let’s face the truth though. You have an excellent training program in your corporation, and proven processes in place for everything. In my opinion, one doesn’t need to have any experience here–perhaps it is even a minus to have it. Because you do not need creative people here, people who will try to devise their own way of doing the job. On the contrary, you need people who learn and follow the processes you have in place, and who are eager to do so. You have one such person sitting in front of you right now…
- I have the full package–communication skills, empathy, ability to solve problems and deal with ambiguity, ability to work independently and deliver, and a willingness to go above and beyond for both my employer and the customer. Might my skills help me in the job? I believe they will help me become the best customer service manager in your company. The questions is, will you give me the chance to prove my words, or will you hire one of the other job candidates?
Show confidence in your ability to handle the job
Regardless of what you did before, and what you’ve learned at school, you should always show your confidence to handle the job–and to do it well. When you have skills and experience that might be helpful in the job, you can focus on it, explaining how what you did and learned prepared you for the role.
When you lack such experience and skills, focus more on your attitude to work and willingness to learn. At the end of the day, most jobs aren’t particularly difficult. Anyone with right attitude can learn them in few days, or in few weeks. Ensure the interviewers that you read the job description carefully, understand your duties, and feel completely ready to handle the job.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Use thought-provoking answers in competitive interviews
Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, and the majority of interviews have become extremely competitive. Just the other day a friend of mine applied for a call center job. Nothing fancy really, but he had to quit his business, and with two kids at home, he needed basically any job. Guess what, they didn’t even invite him for an interview. Over 50 people applied for a job–in a call center, close to minimum wage, jobs some years ago you’d struggle to find any decent people for…
Maybe you find yourself in a similar scenario, competing with dozens of other people for just a handful of vacancies. In such a situation, you should consider answering at least one or two questions in an unconventional way, saying something other candidates don’t dare to say–though it goes about an obvious truth. Check answers no. 6 and no. 7 on my list for good examples.
These aren’t the answers you should opt for when you have relevant skills and experience and are the favorite to win the job. When you find yourself in a position of an underdog, however, or even in a position when you have nothing to lose, making the interviewers think with an unconventional or even thought-provoking answers is your best chance of turning the odds, and eventually becoming their favorite (though you started the interviews as an underdog)…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What does teamwork mean to you?
- Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?
- Interview Success Package – Premium answers to all questions.