This is the time of year that people spend time considering how they’re going to improve themselves. Goals are set, resolutions are made. That’s what got me thinking about this post, but it isn’t something that should only be considered around the impending new year. If you’re in the process of hunting for a job, it’s helpful to ask yourself this question often – “what am I doing to get better?” If you’re spending time improving one of your skills (or learning something new entirely), that’s going to help you in the interview process in several ways. If you’re not spending any time trying to get better at something -well, you should probably start, because you’re competing against other job hunters who are.
The primary benefit of improving/learning a skill is obvious – you’re (hopefully) getting better at something that will help you get a job. Beyond that, your learning process can be a great thing to bring up during interviews. Spend some time thinking about things like:
- How do you stay on top of current trends in your field?
- How do you go about learning a new skill? What resources do you use?
- Is there a skill/tool/programming language that you taught yourself? How did you do it?
- How long did it take you to master or become adept at a new skill? What were the biggest challenges?
Be ready to discuss things like that, as they have the potential to take an interview in some interesting directions. When I’m interviewing people, I love to hear about how they are learning things on their own time. It gives you some insight into how they might approach a unique challenge if they end up working side-by-side with you!
Don’t be afraid to bring up things that you learning/improving that aren’t directly related to the job you’re applying for. Learning how to cook? Play an instrument? Speak French? Those can all be interesting discussion points in an interview as well. They help give the interviewer more insight into who you are, and how you might fit in with the team.