General Knowledge: How Do You Know So Much?

We know things based on our life experiences.

Take a minute to think about what your life experiences have taught you. Think about the information you know or skills have you gained from past jobs, going to school, your hobbies or your environment.

You have a unique combination of skills and experiences that other job seekers do not have. Think about how your unique experiences make you a better worker, and practice talking about your strengths to your supervisors and prospective employers.

In addition to your unique strengths, employers expect people to have the same basic knowledge about our society, history, literature, etc.

Most of this “general knowledge” was taught to us as children in school. People who did not go to school in the United States, or those of us who had a hard time learning in school, however, might not have the same general knowledge as other people.

General knowledge is important at work and in our personal lives for may reasons:

  • It helps us understand what is happening in the news and in politics.
    You can have conversations with different types of people .
  • It increases your self-confidence and your ability to relate to others (Emotional Intelligence).
  • Knowing a little bit about many things makes you an interesting, well-rounded person.
  • Your mind is a muscle. Learning and talking about new things keeps your brain strong.


  • Brain Pump (videos): Free, short videos on academic and pop culture topics, including physics, flirting, technology, food and life hacks.
  • Stuff You Missed In Short Class (podcast): Relevant stories from U.S. and European history.
  • Common Sense Quiz (quiz): Quick multiple choice questions to see how much general knowledge you know.
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica (website): A classic, reliable resource to find out about any topic you can think of in Western culture.
  • Khan Academy (website): Hundreds of free online courses for youth and adults to learn math, science, arts, economics, college prep and more.
  • TedEd (videos): Free, short videos about a lot of topics including, cures for diseases, history, the arts, and cheese.
  • (website): Stories, facts and interviews about notable people in pop culture, political, military and academic fields.