There are different types of people in this world, and in particular everyone has certain traits, characteristics, and strengths. Before you read any more of this blog, can you identify with yourself what your best assets of a worker are? What do you feel sets you apart from your competitors? Do you know what your weaknesses are and how to use them to your advantage in an interview? If I have already identified at least one question that you cannot readily answer, then I welcome you to read on. Once you know more about yourself, you will know which companies are best for you and therefore which applications to focus your efforts to.
Firstly, you need to really identify what your strengths and weaknesses are, and be honest with yourself. At first, you might think that you are a great all-rounder and that you do everything fairly well. That in itself might be a strength, with the weakness being that you are not an expert in any particular area of your industry. Employers love having an all-rounder staff, however they also have the staff which are experts in one or two particular areas.
Maybe you think about it harder and realise that you are an energetic and creative individual, full of ideas and you use your charisma to lead others. If this is your strength, then maybe your weakness is data entry and reporting, where you would rather be out actioning and getting stuff done then having the processes slow you down. There is no right or wrong and you should be able to see the merit in each type, but it is important to realise that there is a balance for everything in life. Once you identify this, you can use it to your advantage.
When applying for jobs, if you are the energetic and creative individual, focus your search on start-up businesses or businesses which have a website that gives the impression they can provide the type of environment you would thrive in. When writing an application, words like ‘energy’ and ‘charisma’ are just words on a piece of paper, try give them meaning by getting amongst some networking events to meet some potential employers.
If you are diligent with data and processes, then make sure your application is accurate and fits all the requirements asked of you. You will be better suited to a large organisation or government department which requires candidates with your strengths. If you were to be in a start-up business, you would dislike having no instructions and lack of importance for reporting. Likewise if you were energetic and use your words and ideas as your assets, then you’re strengths would be lost in an organisation which has such tight structure and little room for movement.
So you have spent time applying to companies that you need to work in, and find that more interviews are flowing because of it. In the interview, you may be asked what are your strengths and what can you deliver to the role. Some interviewers may also ask what are your weaknesses. If you have been truthful to yourself, then you should be able to answer this honestly and be able to give a positive spin to it. You have weaknesses, therefore you must have strengths to balance it out. Take this as an example:
“My weakness would have to be my lack of balancing all tasks and reporting data as I go along. Sometimes, I am too energetic and rushing around getting many great things done that I forget to slow down and record data for reporting purposes. Although my strength is my energy and commitment to get things done and to win new business, it can come back to bite me when I struggle 6 months later to remember which date I had the client appointment and the specifics of the meeting. This is something I recognised and I have been using time management tools to help rectify and have attended a short course in time management over the summer. Although this position will be the first role I’ve had in 2015, I have recognised my weaknesses and look forward to putting into action what I have learned should I be offered this role. My weaknesses only exist because of my strengths.”
This is a great answer to have. The candidate has recognised that they have weaknesses, but have identified that they exist and communicated the measures they are taking to improve themselves, while finishing up by saying their weaknesses exist because of their strengths.
If you can identify your strengths and determine what type of company and environment you need to be in, then you will find that your targeted applications will resolve in more suitable interviews where you are a good match. If you apply to a company you are not suited to in the first place, then the company can probably identify that from your application and hence your lack of interviews that feel right for you.
There are hundreds and hundreds of jobs out there, so don’t waste time on the ones you never want to get, focus your efforts on what positions you need. Once you start in the right job, your happiness (benefitting yourself) and productivity (benefitting your employer) will be huge! This is what you want, but you need to start the journey with your job hunt.