One Thing Never to Say in a Job Interview

In a previous post I explained that you should never say “transferable skills” in a job interview because while you mean, “I want the job and I can do the job,” the employer hears, “I don’t meet the minimum qualifications but do me a favor and consider me anyway.”  Employers do not have to do you any favors.

My solution was to talk about transferable accomplishments.  Let the employer know what you have actually done and let her draw the conclusion on her own that you can do the job.  But that may not always be correct.

It’s possible that you may not have any impressive accomplishments.  I’ll use myself as an example.  Years ago I was a fundraiser.  I brought in the largest gift in the history of my 150-year old non-profit.  I am very proud of that.  But if I had applied for a job at Harvard as a Major Gifts fundraiser, and I had told them that my largest gift was $25,000, hopefully they would have waited for me to leave the building before they had started to laugh.  Twenty-five grand may be impressive for me; it’s not for Harvard.

So instead I would have talked about my “transferable experiences.”  There is a subtle difference between accomplishments and experiences.  The former refers to what you did, the latter to how you did it.  That may make up for any deficits you may have.

Want to learn more about how to answer questions in a job interview, and what questions to ask?  Join me Friday, June 10 from Noon to 1:30 PM at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 Madison Avenue, New York, NY and receive $100 off my full service career counseling package.  (There is no charge for attending.  Registration is requested but not required.) Not in Manhattan on the 10th?  No problem.  “Like” this post and e-mail me your resume ( and I will e-mail you the code on the 10th.  (This offer will expire on June 17, 2016.)