What Are Personal Strengths?

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April 17, 2020
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min read

Sometimes interviewers will ask about your personal strengths and weaknesses during a job interview. In this article, we are going to focus on personal strengths and the best ways to incorporate them into your job hunting process.

It's important to understand the difference between personal strengths and professional ones. They go hand-in-hand, but it's good to know the distinction before your job interviews.

Examples of personal strengths and weaknesses

Personal strengths are the traits and characteristics that define the person you are. You want to make sure throughout the interview process you are highlighting these. You should always be prepared to discuss weaknesses whenever strength is brought up.

Here is a list of some of the most common strengths:

  • Self-confidence
  • Versatile
  • Communication skills
  • Loyalty
  • Optimism
  • Realism
  • Self-control
  • Patience
  • Ambitious
  • Honest

Here is a list of weaknesses people often mention

  • Impatience
  • Stubbornness
  • Being passive
  • Being self-critical
  • Shyness

How to use your personal strengths to get a job interview

Before you get called for an interview, you will want to highlight your strengths in your resume, and potentially in your cover letter as well. These are great places to introduce yourself to a potential employer. While your resume will include a list of your professional skills and experience, your cover letter is the first personal impression you give.

In your cover letter, mention experiences that demonstrate your strengths. For example, if you are very loyal, you can mention how long you were at a previous company during your career.

It's good to list your skills and strengths on your resume or job applications. Find a smart way to weave them into any correspondence when looking for a new job. There is usually a place to list standard work strengths such as problem-solving skills, being a team player, or even computer skills.

Spend some time finding the right way to convey that you have these traits. Cover letters are a good place to start showing who you are as a person.

Before your job interview

Before you go on a job interview, take some time to read the job description. Then do some research on the company. Visit their corporate website and any social media platforms.

Take note of the company's values, mission statement and philanthropic activities. Think about how your individual strengths match. During your job interview, find opportunities to reference who you are as a candidate and how you would be a great addition to their team.

Make sure you practice your responses about your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. Multiple team members you interview with may ask about your skills. Focus on what they are looking for in a candidate and how you would be a great team player.

You can even bring a list of your strengths and weaknesses to reference during your interview. Then, you can bring your resume to life by providing contextual examples from your previous work experience to explain your list.

During your job interviews

If you are interviewing for a customer service manager role, sales executive, or even a graphic designer position, you can expect to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses. The interviewer may ask for one or more examples of how you utilize your strengths and how you are working to improve on your weaknesses. Even when discussing your weaknesses, positivity is key to keeping your conversation flowing.

Make sure you pay attention to the type of strength the interviewer is asking about. If it's something more profession related, focus on things like computer skills, public speaking, and problem-solving skills. If the question is more geared towards personal traits, you want to focus on answers that include your honesty, work ethic, determination, and creativity.

Hiring managers and recruiters will expect candidates to be prepared to give complete answers to these questions. If you do not have a polished response, you could hurt your chances of landing the job.

After your job interview

You ought to send a follow-up email to each employee you meet during the interview process. Make sure you have an email address for everyone. Job candidates that do not send thank you emails can sometimes even be overlooked for the open position.

In your thank-you note, reinforce the strengths you mentioned during your interview. If there was a strength or a couple of skills you weren't able to discuss, find a way to weave them into your note.

For example, you can say, I enjoyed our discussion on the need for strong computer skills. I feel my strengths as a communicator also make me an ideal candidate.

Final thoughts on personal skills and strengths

During the job search process, you will have to touch on your strengths, weaknesses, and skills. Make sure you are prepared to speak on both your personal and professional skill sets. Bringing a list of what your top ones are can be a huge help during an interview.

You can keep a few notes on each one so you can provide color and context to your skills.

If there are areas of weakness, show you are working to improve them. Every employee from the leadership team to the assistants has things about them that need improvement. Your ability to speak with passion about both your weaknesses and strengths can have a huge impact on your career.

In the end, the more time you spend preparing for the job interview process, the closer you will be to landing your next job!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I identify my personal strengths for a job interview?

To identify your personal strengths for a job interview, start by reflecting on past successes and tasks you enjoy. Consider feedback from colleagues or mentors, and think about the skills that have helped you overcome challenges. You can also take personality assessments or strength-finding quizzes for additional insight. Once identified, prepare examples that demonstrate these strengths in a professional context.

Can personal strengths change over time, and should I update my list for interviews?

Yes, personal strengths can evolve with experience, learning, and personal development. It's important to regularly reassess and update your list of strengths, especially before interviews, to ensure you present the most accurate and current version of your professional capabilities. This will help you to accurately showcase your growth and adaptability to potential employers.

How many personal strengths should I mention in a job interview?

In a job interview, it's best to focus on three to five key personal strengths that are most relevant to the position you're applying for. This allows you to provide depth in your answers and include specific examples without overwhelming the interviewer. Tailor your strengths to the job description and company culture for maximum impact.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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