Use Your Strengths to Your Advantage

“Accentuate the positive.”

It’s more than just a classic song – it should be the mantra for your interviewing strategy!

If you’re trying to gain experience right out of college, or if you’re in the midst of a career transition, you may very well find yourself in a “stretch” interview – an interview in which you meet all of the qualifications except for one.

To land a job like this, you really sell your candidacy and alleviate a recruiter’s concern about a lack of experience or missing qualification. So put your best foot forward. Here are five tips from PrideStaff on how to identify your strengths and highlight them in the interview:

Know your strengths.

This may sound obvious, but it’s important homework before each interview – because the requirements of each job will be unique. Spend time reviewing the job description and required skills, competencies and experience to determine where you excel – and where you may fall short. Once you understand your strengths in the workplace relative to the available job, you can do the best job accentuating them.

Translate strengths into accomplishments.

To validate your claims, rehearse specific examples of situations where you demonstrated your strengths on the job. Develop a series of short, versatile problem/solution scenarios that provide evidence of the skills or experience you have. Measurable results are best, but solid anecdotes work well, too.

Know your weaknesses.

Just as you should know your workplace strengths, you should know your weaknesses, too. That doesn’t mean you have to tell the hiring manager that you’re awful at a certain skillset or have no experience in a particular area – that wouldn’t be wise. Frame it in a different way. Make it clear that you’re not as skilled as you’d like to be in this area, and that you’re looking forward to learning more and becoming the best version of yourself in that space.

Demonstrate your growth.

If you have a weakness that may negatively affect your candidacy, grab the bull by the horns. Explain how, in the past, you have transformed a skills gap or other shortcoming into a strength. Hiring managers know that past behavior is the best predictor of future success; if you can show you’ve overcome a weakness before, your current shortcoming will be less of a concern to them.

Consider the strengths of your role models.

Do you have personal or professional role models that you look up to? Think about the qualities you admire in those people, and ask yourself a question: Do you emulate any of those same characteristics? If you admire those qualities in someone else, there’s a good chance the hiring manager will admire them in you, too. So don’t be afraid to upsell yourself on the skills and traits you admire most about yourself.

Use every advantage available.

In addition to gauging your hard skills and experience, an employer will also be assessing other factors like appearance, professionalism, confidence, interest in the job, and nonverbal behaviors like eye contact and posture. If you’re thoroughly prepared for the interview, you can use all of these to your advantage – playing up the strength of your “soft skills.” It’s one of those job seeker tips that too often gets overlooked when it can make a huge difference.

On the job hunt?

Work with a national employment agency like PrideStaff. We can make finding your ideal job quicker, simpler, and less stressful. PrideStaff will help ensure that you just don’t search, but succeed.  We provide a wide range of temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative jobs, professional jobs, IT jobs, and light industrial jobs.

Contact the PrideStaff office in your area to find out more about great local job opportunities.