I am applying for a few companies in the education industry. If the future employers ask me "Why do you want to join us?", I plan to say "I am interested in the education industry because many of family members, from the last last generation, teach at colleges and high schools. I want to continue that path to make a positive impact on people through education."

Is it a good idea to mention my family history?

Is there a better way to say this? How do I improve my phrase?

I am in the USA.

  • Depending on the context, referring to education as an industry might be a faux pas. – Mark Rotteveel Feb 9 '19 at 14:13

It always depends on they way you decide to present this information and the timing for your explanation. From what I understood, the reason you want to use your family history as an argument is to to demonstrate the strong calling you feel to have chosen education industry.

There are a few considerations depending on the format of the question and the context. Here are some scenarios.

Cover letter. Make sure it sounds more like "I really believe in education" rather than "My family has been in the industry and it's comfortable to me". You can do so by making your motivations more important than the fact that your family has been teaching for generations.

Online form. Most recruiters will only be spending seconds scanning your answers. It's best if you go straight to the point. "I consider that education can make a positive impact in people and I feel a strong vocation towards teaching".

Personal interview In my experience performing interviews, this is the space to explain your motivations a little further. This is where you can really show that enthusiasm because you can count on non-verbal cues to communicate. Again, make sure you state your personal motivations and only use the family history as an insightful fact.


I work in Educational Technology or EdTech. It's really important for me to see that candidates are passionate about education, because it's very hard to be effective in EdTech without it.

Should I mention my family history when answer “why do you want to join us”?

While saying you come from a long line of educators is a good thing, it doesn't tell me a lot about you specifically. I recommend you focus more on your experience and your motivations.

Examples being:

  • Tell me how coming from a long line of educators influenced your perspective on education.
  • How do you understand the mindset of an educator and a student (focus more based on the speciality area of the company)?
  • Do you have first hand experience as a teacher, teaching assistant, tutor, etc? How does that experience influence your perspective on education?
  • I am interested in learning more. Can you share a few examples? – Jill Clover Feb 8 '19 at 23:10
  • @JohnHass I added some examples to my answer. I prefer demonstrating your passion over just saying it. I interviewed so many people who want to be in education to help people, but never volunteered to teach or can talk about teaching in their life. I volunteered teaching senior citizens to use the Internet. – jcmack Feb 9 '19 at 0:25

Yes. Employers in virtually all industries prefer applicants that are passionate about the industry and if possible, working for said employer. Having family members who are in the industry and wanting to follow in their footsteps is generally something that people find valuable.

You didn't ask for feedback on how you phrase it, but if you'd like you could elaborate on what you learned from your family that's made you passionate about education.

  • I am interested in learning more. Can you share a few examples? – Jill Clover Feb 8 '19 at 23:10
  • @JohnHass examples of how to phrase what you learned from your family that's made you want to pursue a career in education? – dbeer Feb 11 '19 at 15:39

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