How to Describe Your Strengths in an Interview or on a Resume

What are your professional strengths?

For most people, talking about your strengths and weaknesses in a job interview does not always come easy. Each individual has certain skills that they are exceptionally good at, but sometimes it’s hard to label these qualities in an interview setting. In order to gain an edge on your competition, identify your own strengths and talents and promote them.

Both your resume and your job interviews should publicize your strengths, making you a strong candidate who is skilled, confident and experienced. Before a job interview or even before you start putting your resume together, make a list of your professional strengths related to the job for which you are applying. You can also ask your friends and family to help you brainstorm in order to make the list as long as possible. Note at least one specific accomplishment for each strength on your list. In an interview, it will be easier to describe each of your strengths using the accomplishment to show rather than tell about the skill.

When asked about your strengths in an interview, it is best to limit them to just three or four, rather than regurgitate a long list of positive attributes. Interviewers ask about candidates’ strengths in order to get evidence that you are a good fit for the position and the company as a whole, so try to highlight skills that match the job description or that at least relate to the company’s specific industry. If you are changing careers, you’ll need to be more resourceful when it comes to emphasizing relatable strengths. Choosing a few strengths over many will give you enough time to expound on them. Try to avoid over-used catch phrases such as, “I’m a people person” because it sounds insincere and is far too vague to convey anything other than the fact that you don’t have a better answer to the question.

If you are having a hard time pinpointing your professional strengths, look for signs of excitement. When you engage in an activity that you are good at, you normally feel a higher level of excitement for the task at hand. Generally, people are more motivated to perform tasks when they feel confident about their ability to do a terrific job. Ask a colleague when you appear most animated or observe yourself for a day. When do you feel the most engaged and motivated? There are also websites that offer surveys, like the VIA Character Strengths Test, to help you identify your greatest strengths.


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