How to Leverage Your Strengths on a Job Interview

by Gerald Buck | April 03, 2014

Throughout your job search you will have many opportunities to showcase your strengths during a job interview. Your performance during a job interview is vital. Besides your well-prepared and detailed resume, it's the only thing the interviewer has to go by. When the interview is over you either get hired or you don't.

One way to improve your interview is to properly leverage your strengths.

Create a Mind Blowing but Brief Introduction

Some call this an elevator speech, because it's short (about 1-2 minutes). When you're selling anything you need to be able to sum up why people need it in a short speech. In this case, what you're selling is yourself.

This introduction, which you should give during the beginning part of your interview, showcases your strengths. Here are some examples of what you need to include in your introduction:

Experience: Provide an interesting look at your work history.

Background: How does your background make you stand out against other candidates?

Style: Explain your leadership and communication styles. What can the potential employer expect from you?

Credentials: Show off your strengths by discussing your credentials that are related to the job you are applying for such as specializations, degrees earned, increased sales at a former employer's, and work at industry-leading companies.

Key Skills: What skills do you have that apply to this particular job?

Creating this introduction and implementing it early on in the interview helps you outline your strengths and gives the interviewer a chance to ask questions about you and your job experience. It also puts you upfront, giving the interviewer a snippet of what you're all about as an employee and what you have to offer the company.

Most of the time a job interviewer will ask you right away to tell a little about yourself. This is the perfect time to give your mind-blowing speech. If not, find a natural way to introduce yourself.

Tell Your Stories

Interview questions used to be simple yes or no answer questions, but this has changed to open-ended questions where you need to do a little story telling.

This change has happened because job interviewers want to see how you perform and behave when giving your answers. They have more time to get as much information from you (your body language, posture, the way you speak, etc.) when you are saying more than one word. Plus, they learn about your strengths as a problem solver.

You'll be specifically asked about problems you have faced at work and how you handled them. Prepare about six to eight stories to tell. Think about problems you have had at work and how you diffused the problem.

What strengths of yours did you use to overcome the problem and how did you do it?

Think about it in the context of… Who? What? Where? When? How? Why… as you’re elaborating on your story.

Answering these types of questions will become easy once you've prepared for them.

Examples of Workplace Strengths

  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Instilling Positivity in Teams
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Creating Goals and Meeting Them
  • Increasing Sales
  • Decreasing Spending
  • Measuring Performance
  • Working in Teams
  • Planning Budgets
  • Communication
  • Productivity

These are just a small sampling of the workplace strengths you could showcase during your job interview. 

Go through your resume and think about each job position you have held and how you used your strengths to overcome problems and make the companies you worked for better places. You need to know and understand your strengths so you can leverage them for your job interview.

Did you use your strengths to your advantage in your most recent interview? What other tips can you use to leverage your most valuable assets? Share with us in the comments.

Gerald Buck is the editor of www.ejobapplications.com, a website offering free downloadable job application forms, career advice, job interview and resume tips, as well as much more. He can be reached via email at buckejobapplications@gmail.com or on Twitter @eJobApplication.

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search


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