My most marketable skill is speaking Japanese. In fact, all of my jobs have been in Japan.
While technically I did take Japanese classes in college, I never really studied. My marks were so bad, I did not even qualify for "study abroad".
When doing interviews for working in Japan again, is it more impressive to say:
- Having never "studied" the language (mostly true), after college graduation I bought a one-way ticket to Tokyo and found a job (true). I learned spoken Japanese by just repeating the Japanese I heard every day (true).
- My childhood dream was to live abroad (true). I chose Japan and took language classes in college (true), studied hard (not so true), and that is what allowed me to be successful in Japan. This evokes an image of being "goal driven".
When casually meeting a new person, I like to say #1. I like to project that having been thrown into a do/die situation, somehow I learned Japanese and was able to survive. It allows a conversation about why and how I did it. It is a good ice-breaker.
But, in very serious job interviews, which sounds more impressive?
Story #1: I took a huge risk and was a survivor? I can build rapport with the interviewer by re-telling how and why I did it.
Story #2: Emphasize that, as a goal driven person, through hard work and diligence, I was able to succeed.