It is well-known that confidence and a little self-promotion go a long way in the job search, so you need to identify your unique strengths to promote them. If you are confident about yourself and your skills, a new employer finds it easier to be confident in you. But self-promotion is not something we all know how to do. Some people do it naturally; others learn through encouragement and support as toddlers. Most of us, however, are better at being polite and understated. So we learn self-promotion like any other job skill.
When interviewing internally or with a new company, the best way to promote yourself is to share your strengths honestly, what you are good at, and what you can be relied on. To do that, you need to know what those strengths are. It’s essential to understand those aspects of your personality and skill set that can help you thrive. Identifying your strengths at work can help you land that dream job.
Identifying Your Strengths in the Workplace
It’s normal if you’re drawing a blank about your strengths. Most of us don’t self-promote naturally, and that starts by not examining our traits too closely, either. You consider yourself a neutral person and feel pretty OK about most things. You may like some tasks better than others but have difficulty seeing where you really shine. It’s not that you’re mediocre; you’re just not self-observant. But there are aspects of your personality that are inherently valuable in the workplace.
From an outside perspective, you can probably see the strengths of others. You may know that Tina from down the hall is great at spreadsheets, but Dan is better at representative graphs. Your talents also shine through on the outside. So the first trick is to see yourself outside your internal self-perspective.
Ask Yourself Those Leading Interview Questions
Sometimes, the leading interview questions have a purpose. Consider these questions from the perspective of identifying your strengths:
Where do your co-workers rely on you? Is there anything they consistently ask you to take over because you do the best work?
Tell about the one time you really stepped up for the team. What did you do? What skills did you use?
What was your role in a recent crisis?
Do you often find yourself helping or supporting your team members? If so, how?
Take these questions and roll them around in your mind instead of rolling your eyes. The common thread between the answers will be your strengths. Perhaps you have a cool head in a crisis. You may do specific calculations quickly on the fly. Maybe you’re known for saving a presentation when a co-worker gets stage fright. Or you might be highly reliable and counted on by your team to keep every project rolling steadily forward. You might even ask a few good co-workers what they think your on-the-job strengths are for perspective.
How you interact with your team – and what they count on you for – can define your workplace strengths.
Own Your Skills and Passions
People raised to be modest don’t “toot their own horn” after getting good at a skill or even chasing their dreams. “I’m a graphic artist” is all they need to say to reflect the years of drawing for themselves, then for friends, their first clients, and finally, a sequence of commercial employers. In an interview, you could say, “I’m passionate about digital art and have been putting in the hours since my early teens”. But we’re more inclined to say, “Yes, I have some years of experience with graphic design.”
Learn to own what you do best, the skills you’ve worked hardest for, and the things you are passionate about. They say it takes ten-thousand hours to become a master of any skill. Own any skill or activity you’ve started to clock in hundreds and thousands of hours. You’ve earned that horn to blow.
Soft skills & Hard skills
Strengths come in many different forms and can include, for example, intellectual strengths and interpersonal strengths. Work-life strengths can be broken down into soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are any skill or quality classified as a personality trait or attribute. These individual skills and behaviours, such as adaptability, communication and problem-solving, shape how we work and interact with others.
While soft skills represent a more inherent skillset that tends to be more people-focused, hard skills represent your technical know-how. Due to rapid technological change, soft skills are becoming more and more critical in the workplace. And also because they are transferable skills that are easy to apply to numerous situations in different roles.
Different job roles require different strengths, but some of the soft skills- strengths that many employers look for in a candidate include:
Ability and willingness to learn
Take a Personality Assessment
When asked, “what are your strengths” you want to be prepared to answer that question but addressing it can be challenging. That’s because determining your strengths takes self-reflection and self-awareness. If you’re having trouble getting perspective on yourself, take an objective test. A personality questionnaire will help you identify aspects of your personality relevant to the work environment.
Unlike Buzzfeed personality quizzes that tell you which Game of Thrones character you most resemble, taking a high-quality personality assessment can help you gain deep insights into your work-life personality. Your preferred working style, what kind of role you naturally adopt in a team, and what motivates and drives you in your daily work.
What you discover from a personality assessment can make for great interview answers regarding your strengths. Not to mention an excellent baseline to understand and develop yourself in the workplace.
Reflecting the Virtues of a Great Employee
How does your personality fit into the ideal model of an employee? The answer will be a little different for each employer and company culture, but ultimately, this is your chance to spotlight some of your better quirks. Are you passionate and genuinely excited to dive into the work ahead? Do you love to travel in a job that requires location changes and site visits? Are you a life-long puzzle solver joining an investigative team? These are examples of strengths that uniquely fit your role. Promoting these strengths will also show that you understand what goes into the position and makes a good team member.
You can also fall back on more universal workplace strengths. Are you highly predictable with a critical daily routine? It can be a strength in some workplaces. Or you might mention being flexible, able to wear several hats in the department with some joy in mixing it up. The right personal strength where you embody the ideal employee depends on the job and organisational culture.
Relax With the Interviewer
The final piece of the puzzle is to let yourself be comfortable in the interview. Most of us learned that being modest and polite in a formal setting is the same. An interview feels formal, so we get real modest – a classic crossing of signals. Instead, an interview is where you’re supposed to show a little of your pizzazz – whatever special something you’ll bring to the workplace.
But that’s a mode we only allow ourselves to enter with friends. We don’t brag around strangers. We don’t kick back and share our strengths with someone who might be our boss in the future. Except, that’s what you need to do.
So coach yourself to kick back a little. Try to give your interviewer just a little of your’ hanging with friends’ charm and humour. Crack a joke about machine code or share your nickname for the software. This will help you relax, but you’ll also build a friendly rapport with the interviewer.
When the interview begins to feel more like a friendly chat regarding a job you are passionate about, your best self will shine through (including your passion for the work), and sharing your strengths will not feel so alien. Knowing your best workplace strengths could be the key to acing your dream job interview.
Clevry is here to help. Take our free state-of-the-art personality questionnaire and start gaining deeper insights into your work-life personality today!