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Present Perfect: "Why are you qualified for this position?"

In this lesson I’m going to look at how native speakers use the Present Perfect to show how a completed action from the past has an impact on the present.

Normally when we talk about a completed action in the past we use the Past Simple, and if you didn't know which to use, you will more often than not be correct by using the Past Simple.

So, understanding when you could use either, or when you can only really use one of them is quite a tricky concept to grasp for many people, so I will use a very specific situation to start to untangle the concept.

Imagine that I am in a job interview to be employed as a teacher in a language school. A predictable question might be something like – “what makes you suitable for this position”. I would want to tell the interviewer about my qualifications, my past work experience and my professional experience. Have a look at the video below to see how I answered;

Let's look at some of the specific sentences that I used in my answer;

I have completed my CELTA qualification, so that means that I am a trained teacher”.

I have worked in several schools in the past, and I have taught over 2,000 lessons online, so that means that I have some teaching experience”.

I have worked in several professional positions in the UK”.

Notice that for all of the sentences I only focus on the completed action - I don't say when anything happened or in what order it happened in relation to other events. I also make a direct link to the present with the word so to show how the completed action is connected to the present.

I could also have used the past simple and said;

I completed my CELTA qualification in 2017, so that means that I am a trained teacher”.

I worked in several school's between 2019 and 2020, and I taught over 2,000 lessons online between 2019 and the present day, so that means that I have some teaching experience”.

I worked in several professional positions in the UK before training to be a teacher”.

...but actually, the information about when these actions happened feels a bit unnecessary and makes the answer confusing.

The key differences are simply;

To give any information about when a completed past action happened - Past Simple.

To say when something happening in relation to another past action - Past Simple.

When the fact that the past action has happened, regardless of when, has an impact on the present conversation - Present Perfect.

Practice exercise:

Think of your own example answer to explain why you are qualified for either your current position, or for a job that you would like to be able to do. How many sentences can you create using the Present Simple, and how many of the sentences can’t be put into the Present Simple because you want to give further information?

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