Perhaps you started working at an early age, allowing you to learn valuable lessons sooner than most. Maybe you have held some tough jobs while putting yourself through University. Many hiring managers agree that the best employees are ones with 'grit,' who have held a 'dirty job' or two in their lives. Talk to the interviewer about your early work experience and how it will benefit you in this specific role.
"I have been working since I was just 14 years old. My first job was as a shop hand for my father who was a mechanic. I had to sweep, clean, greet customers and order parts. It was a great way for me to get my hands dirty and I was taught excellent customer service skills from an early age. Everything that I learned during that time has helped me to stay grounded and humble in my executive career."
"My early career as a server taught me great work ethic, the importance of active listening, memorization, and positively shaped my communication skills. I look forward to applying these skills to this role with your company."
"Every position that I have held has built upon the previous, in the form of bigger responsibilities and also more significant problems to solve. My first job was as a dishwasher where I thought up a system that made my dishwashing 30% faster, causing less stress on the kitchen and of course - making my job easier. As a Production Manager, I still look for ways to increase productivity."
"My very first job was a paper route when I was just ten years old. I would get up at 6 AM, rain or shine, and deliver my papers. My end goal was to buy a new bike for myself. I reached my goal and quit my job immediately after, funny enough. The idea of it all is that I, already at the age of 10, understood goal setting. I still set timed goals for myself on projects and am very headstrong when it comes to meeting those goals."
"Early in my career, I was a bartender at a busy club. I had to ensure that customers were taken care of promptly, given the right amount of change, handed the correct drink order - all with a smile on my face! That lesson in multi-tasking, while maintaining a positive attitude, has remained with me all through my retail sales career. Boxing Day, Black Friday, and Door Crashers? No problem!"
"My first sales job was a door-to-door position selling novelty items to offices. Yes, it was as awful as it sounds. We would meet as a group, and the team lead would cram us all into the company car, drive us to a heavily saturated business park, and we would split up, going door-to-door. Most of the time I was yelled at and rejected, but then the odd sale would save my day. This position taught me grit and courage - two characteristics that I still bring to work with me every day."
"The most memorable early work experience that I have was the summer, between my Grade 10 and 11 years, working as a camp counselor for my church's summer camp. The kids were so out of control, and I just wanted to go home. I remember calling my dad, telling him I couldn't do it. He told me that I needed to finish what I started and that the kids were counting on me to make their week great. He was right! I made the best of it and still keep his wise words in mind, even on the toughest days as a teacher. These kids count on me to deliver my best, every day."