Career Chat: Strengths & Weaknesses
“Career Chat” brings you the latest topics from the Career Chat forum in Purple Briefcase, the exciting new Job Search Portal provided to all Laurus College students and alumni.
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Q: How should I respond when asked what my strengths and weaknesses are?
If you’ve been on a job interview before, chances are you’ve been asked to describe your strengths and weaknesses. This question is frequently asked by potential employers, and is something you should be ready for. Here are a few tips on how to prepare:
1. Answer with confidence! There’s a fine line one walks when displaying confidence without being arrogant. You don’t want to go on and on with an entire list of your greatest attributes; instead have 2-3 traits in mind. The same goes for weaknesses; keep it short and simple.
2. Be honest, be memorable. Because this question is very common, you want to make sure you aren’t answering with the same song and dance routine other applicants are giving. The job market can be tough and you want to make sure you are genuine with your response in order to set yourself apart from other applicants. Think about what it is that makes you unique!
A great strategy for answering this question is reviewing the job description in order to get a better idea for what the company might be looking for. Does the job call for someone who is detail oriented, organized or outgoing?
On the flipside, when discussing weaknesses, you want to make sure you steer clear of taking the easy way out and giving a “positive weakness.” An example of this would be something like, “I’m a perfectionist” or “I find it hard to say no when asked to take on additional projects.”
Be honest about a weakness you’ve learned from in the past, but also make sure that you don’t make the mistake of being too revealing. In doing so you risk the possibility of bringing up a red flag for employers. An example of being too revealing might be something like, “I have a hard time waking up in the morning and I’m always late.”
3. Give examples. Once you’ve thought about the position and what you might be able to bring to the organization, be ready to follow up on your strengths and weaknesses with examples. Employers would be happy to hear more about how your strengths have made an impact in the past, in addition to how you’ve overcome and addressed weaknesses.
An example of a strength would be: “One of my greatest strengths is creativity. With my last employer I was able to assist with an office team building event, which was very successful. Management was extremely happy with the outcome and employee engagement so they decided to make it a quarterly event!”
An example of a weakness would be: “One of my weaknesses in the past has been time management. I worked in a very busy office with my last employer and I found myself falling behind with work. In order to get back on track, I began utilizing checklists and organized my time with my Outlook calendar. It didn’t take long before I was able to increase my overall production.”
Most importantly practice, practice, practice! Rehearse your answers ahead of time and be prepared in order to stand out! As always one of your best resources is Purple Briefcase. Log in for tips and videos on how to best prepare for job interviews.
Purple Briefcase is the career readiness platform that helps Laurus College students and grads stay up to date with the latest career search tools, tips, and technology.