Career Calling

November 21, 2013

Start with Your Strengths

I often help clients prepare for job interviews.  Almost all start by talking about what they don’t have.  They are afraid that the interviewer will immediately detect their weakness and dismiss them as potential employees.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Smart employers will, of course, address potential red flags like gaps in work history or a lack of experience.  However, they are more interested in what an applicant has rather than what she lacks.

Instead of  worrying about what you don’t have, start by focusing on your strengths.  I tell clients to prepare for interviews by answering this question: “I will be a good fit for this position because (reason).”  If you can convince employers that you have the knowledge, experience, and skill needed to do a job, they will be more likely to overlook what you lack or they will be more willing to train you in that area.

Before every interview, look carefully at the job post and company’s website.  List ways you will be an asset to the firm.  Practice talking about how your previous work experience is similar to what you will do for the new employer.  Demonstrate that you will be able to do the job and that you want to do it.  Every employer wants skill.  What will set you apart is your ability to show motivation and interest in the company.

After you define your strengths and how they will benefit your prospective employer, it is important to practice how you would address any weak points.  Keep these answers short and clear.  Whenever possible, demonstrate how you are working on overcoming any problems.  But remember that this exercise should not take even half the time you practice different ways to present positive reasons why you should be hired.  Employers want the best person available.  You are more likely to be that person if you know how to sell your strengths.

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