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Hello,

With regard to the question below about one's past accomplishments, which of the following statements is correct?

Tell me about your accomplishments in your last job.
1. I improved the internal controls of the department which I was previously part of.
2. I have improved the internal controls of the department which I was previously part of.

Things to consider: A) To me, I consider this as one of my accomplishments to date. B) I believe this accomplishment still has benefits or a positive effect to the department to this day. C) This accomplishment was made when I was still part of the department, which I believe qualifies as a specific past event.

With reasons A and B above, I would say that #2 (present perfect) is correct. On the other hand, I would say that #1 (simple past) is correct with reason C. I am not sure about this, though.

Your inputs are very much appreciated!
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To my ear, have improved doesn't go with previously part of.

I would choose 1, simple past.

The making of improvements happened when you were part of another department. You are no longer in that department. This puts up a barrier between the improvements and the present moment of the interview question which cannot be spanned with a present perfect tense.

CJ
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Thanks so much for your quick response!

Just a follow up question, if I omit "which I was previously part of" in my sentence, would #2 (present perfect) sound okay considering my reasons A and B, and despite the fact that the improvements did happen when I was previously part of another department?
So you're asking if this is all right:

I have improved the internal controls of the department.

No, because in this case it's unclear what the department refers to, and from what you said earlier, it's a department you are no longer a member of. That alone sets up the time barrier that the present perfect cannot cross.

But if you still belong to that department, have improved ... the department makes sense.

CJ
Thanks, CJ. That makes more sense to me now. Great help! Emotion: smile
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