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How to Answer: What Are Your Strengths?

How to Answer: What Are Your Strengths?

 “What are your strengths?” is a go-to question for interviewers. The key to answering it correctly is knowing that the hiring manager is trying to find out not only what you’re good at, but also how your skills match up with the company’s needs. This is closely related to “What can you offer us that someone else can’t?” another common question you’ll encounter during the interview process, and it’s a great chance to show off your professional strengths while demonstrating that you’re a great fit for the position!

Here are some tips to help you answer this question perfectly.

Highlight your top 3 strengths.

Before your interview, start by making a list of 10 skills and personality traits you’re proud of. This should include everything from your technical skills (like writing or knowledge of social media platforms) to soft skills like your ability to make friends easily (which shows that you’re a people person), and education-based skills such as training from college classes or past internships. If you need help coming up with this list, try brainstorming with friends or asking professors to weigh in on what they think you’re really good at. Once you have your top 10 strengths, narrow it down to the 3 things you’re most proud of. Be self-aware but not too modest. It’s totally okay to say that you’re a talented writer or a great programmer, and being confident will impress your interviewer.

Pro tip: Be creative! You might be awesome at punctuality, but your interviewer has probably heard that from lots of other candidates already. Instead, figure out what sets you apart and lead with that. For example, if you’re applying for a position where you’ll be managing projects and you have previous project management experience, this is a great time to mention that!

Give concrete examples.

Once you’ve figured out your top 3 strengths, come up with 1-2 examples to back up each one. If you’re going to say that one of your greatest strengths is being organized, then make sure you have evidence to prove that. Preparing a script of this can be a good idea. In addition to making you more comfortable with your answer, it’ll also help you sound more authentic because you’ll be confident that the things you’re talking about are things you’re really great at.

Say something like: “I’m really strong at communication, leadership and project management. Whenever I’m working on a group project, I naturally take on the role of project manager, leading the team by assigning tasks and making sure that everyone knows what they’re responsible for. At my last internship, I was asked to manage a project involving our team of interns. I took the lead on assigning tasks to the team and used the project management platform Trello to ensure that everyone was up to speed on what was expected of them. I also made sure that team members were communicating with each other on a daily basis so that we didn’t fall behind.”

Relate your strengths back to the job.

Once you’ve outlined your strengths and given solid examples of how you display them, wrap up your answer by connecting your strengths back to the position you’re applying for. You don’t need to focus on how your strengths relate to the job specifically (since this can sound too practiced), but do mention why these skills would make you an asset to any team.

Say something like: “We were able to complete the project on time and under budget, delivering a successful solution that our manager was able to share with a client. This made me realize that project management, leadership and communication are things I’m good at, and I’m excited to continue applying those skills in a professional setting.”

Here’s how to bring it all together:

“I’m really strong at communication, leadership and project management. Whenever I’m working on a group project, I naturally take on the role of project manager, leading the team by assigning tasks and making sure that everyone knows what they’re responsible for. At my last internship, I was asked to manage a project involving our team of interns. I took the lead on assigning tasks to the team and used the project management platform Trello to ensure that everyone was up to speed on what was expected of them. I also made sure that team members were communicating with each other on a daily basis so that we didn’t fall behind. We were able to complete the project on time and under budget, delivering a successful solution that our manager was able to share with a client. This made me realize that project management, leadership and communication are things I’m good at, and I’m excited to continue applying those skills in a professional setting.”

Answering “What are your strengths?” is a great chance to highlight the things you’re great at and to show a potential employer that you’ve thought about what will make you a great addition to the team. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask this question directly, finding a way to relate your strengths to the job you’re applying for is a key component of impressing the interviewer. By coming up with your top 3 strengths and giving thoughtful examples of each, you’ll have no problem showing that you’re the best person for the job.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Use Social Media to Network Online and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

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