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Know What You’re Good at…and What You’re Not

Emily Kong
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Published on September 24, 2015

Every person has a unique set of skills, and because of your particular skill set, people may come to you for your expertise in certain areas, or you may be recommended for a project that utilizes your knowledge. This list of your strengths is equally matched with skills where you could use some improvement. Don’t freak out; everyone has a weakness and being the opposite of a perfectionist is not a weakness, but that’s a conversation for another day. Knowing which skills might not be your strong suit is a huge advantage when going after internships and jobs because these are the skills you can develop.

Despite your major, intended career path or work history, you have a skill set unique to you that shows off your strengths, experiences and value. Make sure your skill set is diverse. Even if you’re a computer science major, your skills should not be solely computer science related. You are expected to have skills with HTML, javascript, etc. On top of these skills, you should have experience in something like graphic design, copywriting or anything that sets you apart from other computer science majors. Having well-rounded experience will widen your internship/job search, and it will make you more desirable than others in your field.

With that being said, it’s important to have relevant experience and knowledge within your major. If you don’t, an interviewer will question your dedication to that career path. There are plenty of computer science majors, English majors and even journalism majors. Why are you important? What skills do you posses that a typical student in that major does not? Basically, why should someone hire you instead of someone else?

You should always know your strengths, especially before any kind of interview. It seems like a lame, outdated question, but it’s an important one. Being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses is difficult, but make sure you’re up front about them because knowing your strengths is just as, if not more, important than knowing your weaknesses.

Everyone has weaknesses. Your weaknesses aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Your weakness could be that you take on too many tasks or that you don’t know how to ask for help. It could also be something simple like not knowing the basics of Photoshop. Letting a future employer or interviewer know what your weaknesses are shows them that you’re confident in your abilities, but  that you’re able to recognize what you aren’t good at as well.  If you’re willing to learn, they will be more willing to help you. One of my weaknesses is that I take on too much, but in response to that weakness, I showcase my tremendous organizational skills. The strength may seem to make up for the weakness, but I still shared both qualities with my old supervisor. In response, she made sure to keep an updated Google document of my assignments and due dates so I could keep a schedule of all of my assignments. An employer or supervisor will not look down upon you because you have weaknesses. Instead, they will try to accommodate or work through them with you. In the end, you could gain a new skill, and they could gain a new organizational tool.

Although it may be more difficult to come to terms with weaknesses than with strengths, you know where your skill set lies and where it doesn’t. If you have trouble editing video but are able to edit audio easily, your skill is audio editing and you aren’t as skilled in video editing. If you have difficulty doing one thing or are never able to complete a specific project or task fully, that is a skill that you can better develop. Having weaknesses is not the end of the world and recognizing them will help you in the long run. You now know what areas you need to work on and gain more experience in. You can take an internship that relates to your major and ask for a task or assignment to better improve upon a certain skill. Your supervisor will work alongside you so you can learn and gain experience. You won’t learn anything or get better without practice.

Keep a mental list, or make an actual list. Know what your skills are and what they aren’t; this will benefit you in the long run with any internships or jobs, trust me. Part of being an adult and a professional is understanding your capabilities and knowing that you control how you move forward with your skills (or lack thereof).  Whether you’re a student intern or you have a full-time job, you will always be learning, gaining new skills and practicing.

Emily Kong

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