How to Communicate Your Strengths in a Job Interview
You know this is the job for you. Here’s how to convince the person doing the hiring.
Step 1: List your strengths Determine what your strengths are. Include specific skills, like 'proficient in HTML,' as well as general qualities, whether it’s being 'a big-picture person' or having 'great attention to detail.'
Step 2: Relate to the job Now correlate each skill to the current opening. Think hard about how all of your abilities can be put to use at the position you want.
TIP: Ask friends and coworkers what they see as your strengths—their answers might help you see yourself in a new light.
Step 3: Prepare for questions Prepare for difficult questions. If you quit your last job to follow a band on tour, be ready to put a positive spin on it—maybe you were considering writing a book about the experience rather than just goofing off?
Step 4: Use a thesaurus Get out the thesaurus and look for words to describe your attributes that aren’t as clichéd as 'hard-working,' 'dedicated,' and 'team player.' Or else you might as well say, 'I work hard, yadda yadda.'
Step 5: Think up examples Come up with concrete examples of your attributes. For example, if you plan to say, 'I’m a good manager,' be ready to follow it up with proof of how you spurred people into action.
TIP: During the interview, be confident but not cocky. Overconfidence is just as unappealing as its opposite.
Step 6: Turn negatives positive Turn negatives into positives. If you’re asked why you only stayed at your last job for six months, say it was a bad fit and you didn’t want to remain where you felt you couldn’t do your best.
TIP: Don’t badmouth your former employer, no matter how tempting. You’ll look unprofessional and give the interviewer reason to suspect you’re difficult to work with.
Step 7: Own your weaknesses If, despite all your preparation, a weakness is revealed during the interview, don’t panic. Owning your weaknesses can be a strength. Acknowledge them and say how you plan to overcome them.
FACT: 'So, why don’t you tell me about yourself?' is the most frequently asked job interview question.