Q: How do I identify my strengths? I’ve an interview coming up and I don’t know where to start. (SD, email).
A: There is a hole in your question. You need to identify the strengths that are relevant to the position you are chasing.
Your strength of doing 100 press ups without taking a breath is not relevant if you’re going for a job as a software programmer. But it might be a clincher if you’re a gym instructor. The point I am making here is that you must decide what strengths matter in the job you are pursuing.
Read the jobs spec closely. Figure out what exactly is involved in it. Make a list. It could include teamwork, sales skills, an ability to work on your own initiative and so on. Then go through the list and see what strengths you have that relate to the role.
Then elaborate on those strengths on the same piece of paper – have you significant qualifications, some training, on-the-job experience or just an interest? make sure that you do a good job of selling your key ones when you turn up at the interview, and you give yourself a better chance of doing this by getting them down on paper beforehand and turning them over in your head in the build-up to the big day.
Too often, candidates identify and elaborate in their CVs and interviews on strengths that are not relevant to the job. They approach jobs from their side of the table. Oh, what have I got? What am I good at?
I recommend starting at the other side of the table – what is the employer looking for, what really matters to them in this role, and then, as I outline above, what have I got to meet those needs?
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
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