Awesome! Another “walk in the park” interview question…
This should never be your mindset when interviewing with a new company.
It's great to be confident, but be prepared to sell yourself when the hiring manager says, "Tell me about your educational background."
This question provides a great opportunity to relate your coursework with the required tasks of the position. To land a job offer, you are expected to make every response relevant.
This is obviously easier said than done, but follow the below guidelines to ace this common interview question.
Provide Relevant Details
The interviewer has looked over your resume and likely glanced at your education section.
Most candidates will simply state their degree and the school they attended when answering this interview question. This is not how you separate yourself from other average candidates.
Instead, go into detail!
The interviewer may want to confirm what's on your resume or learn more about your degree or certification.
Discuss coursework that has built your skillset in order to be successful in the open position.
Having a few specific responses ready will help, as certain school subjects can relate more to a given company.
This is obviously for those who have more than one pending interview.
Remember, your resume got you in the door, now it is up to you to close the deal!
(For more educational interview questions, see how to answer Why Did You Choose Your Major?)
Choose Your Relevant Education
Hopefully, your major aligns with your chosen industry.
If this holds true, try to avoid talking about standard classes that you were forced to take unless they made a significant impact.
“But those classes are important?!!!” … Of course, they are, but your hiring manager is most likely aware of those. Try to discuss elective courses that you chose to take.
We are not saying to discuss the softball class you participated in with your buddies. Choose the electives that were included in your major course work.
If your degree does not relate to your career path, don’t panic! You will just need to be more creative with your response.
Education isn't limited to your college degree. Discuss certifications, internships, volunteer work, and any on-the-job training that has helped you meet the requirements of the job.
As long as you choose the relevant skills you gained throughout your education, the above still relates to you!
Example Answer to Describe Your Educational Background
What is your educational background?
Sample interview answer:
During my time at (School Name), I took many courses that have given me the skill set to be successful in this position.
Being a Finance major, I found a passion for financial accounting.
Although my coursework was mainly based on financial analysis, I chose accounting as one of my upper-division electives.
This course pushed me out of my comfort zone as most of my classmates were majoring in accounting.
Since entering the finance industry, I feel I have used a majority of what I learned in that class.
Since I have noticed that your finance department works directly with the staff accountants, I feel this position would be a great mutual fit.
More Interview Assistance
If you are interested in taking your interview preparation to the next level, check out our comprehensive article on the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers.
If you'd like to take your interview prep beyond studying interview questions, we offer one-on-one career coaching that includes advice, a mock interview, and specific feedback.