Why Your Strengths are More Important than Your Weaknesses

Many job seekers work hard to overcome their weaknesses.  However, this is not the best use of their time.  While it is important to be aware of your limitations and to try to improve upon them, it shouldn’t be your top priority.  Instead, it is more important for you to be spending your time and energy on your strengths.  Here’s why:

Your strengths are where you are likely to find a job.  If you are poor in math, you will probably not be hired as an accountant.  Even if you take a course to improve upon your skills, it will be difficult for you to compete with someone who has a natural aptitude for numbers.  You are more likely to find a position using skills that come easier to you and where you have experienced success in the past.

Focusing on your strengths allows you to further develop them.  When you spend more time on your strengths, you find opportunities to expand on your skills.  This allows you to specialize and make yourself even more marketable to employers.

You are able to pinpoint exactly what you have to offer an employer.  Many job seekers cannot effectively summarize what they would bring to the organization.  When you are more aware of your skills and abilities, you are better able to articulate them to potential employers.

You feel more confident.  We spend too much time focusing on our weaknesses, which makes us feel…weak.  When you shift your focus to your strengths, you start to believe that you would be an asset to the organization and employers will be impressed by your confidence.

But what do you do if you don’t know exactly what your strengths are?  How do you identify your strengths?

Ask a friend or co-worker to list your strengths.  The people around you may be able to recognize strengths that you do not see.  Often our biggest strengths are things that we take for granted.  Another person can give us a more objective view of ourselves.

Do a self-assessment.  Ask yourself: What do you enjoy doing?  What do you feel drawn to?  What are your hobbies?  What types of things do you notice?  What gets you excited?  Which activities make you feel engaged?  What types of tasks are you able to learn quickly?    The answers to these questions will give you clues to your areas of strength.

Analyze your past successes.  Take a minute to consider your past experiences.  This can include work, school, or even extra-curricular activities.  Where have you achieved the most success or recognition?  What activities were you doing at the time?  Past successes are a great indication of future potential.

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your weaknesses.  It is important to be well rounded and to try to overcome your limitations.  However, when you are looking for a job, you need to be spending your time on activities that will help you secure a position in the shortest possible time.  By focusing on your strengths, you make yourself more marketable for positions that are a good fit for your skills and abilities.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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