List of Strengths for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews
When you’re job searching, employers will be looking for evidence that you possess the right strengths to get the job done as they screen your resumes, cover letters, and job applications. You will also be asked questions aimed at uncovering your strengths during job interviews.
What are employers looking for? Which are the best strengths to share with employers when you're job hunting? It is a good idea to have a list of strengths, as well as a list of weaknesses, ready to share with the hiring manager.
However, keep in mind that the lists will vary based on the job for which you're applying and the employer's job requirements.
How to Use This List of Strengths
You can use this list of strength words throughout your job search process. First, look through the list and circle the strengths that you possess, and that are also important for the job you’re applying for. You can look back at the job listing to get a sense of the job requirements. Take a few minutes to match your qualifications to the requirements listed in the job posting.
Once you have a list of words that match both the job and your set of strengths, you can use these words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you can include some of these keywords.
You can also use these words in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, try to mention one or two of these strengths, giving a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each of them in the workplace.
Finally, you can use these words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example of a time you used each strength to achieve results in your work, volunteer, and/or academic experiences.
In your interview, be prepared to mention the situations involved, the actions that you took, and the results that you generated while applying your key strengths.
This is known as the STAR (situation, task, action, response) interview response technique. You can use this to highlight your most relevant strengths during job interviews.
Top Strengths Employers Seek in Employees
Analytical skills refer to your ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve, and make decisions. Nearly every job requires this kind of critical thinking on some level. An employee’s analytical strength can help solve a company’s problems and increase its productivity. Showing the employer that you can gather and analyze information, resolve problems, and make decisions will enhance your candidacy.
- Assessing the needs and preferences of customers
- Assessing outcomes
- Creative thinking
- Designing innovative products
- Good judgment
- Logical thinking
- Open minded
- Solution oriented
- Solving complex problems
- Statistical analysis
Written and oral communication skills are critical for almost any job. Whether you are giving a presentation, talking on the phone to a client, or emailing a colleague, you need to be able to communicate effectively and appropriately.
Your communication skills will be evaluated in the written materials you use to apply for a job.
The hiring manager will also focus on how well you handle the interview and communicate with the people you meet during the hiring process.
Employers will also want to see that you can effectively engage with people. They want to know that you can listen to others, respond to their concerns, and demonstrate empathy for others. These interpersonal skills are particularly important in jobs that involve customer service or working on a team. You can demonstrate these skills in the way you engage with the interviewer.
- Business storytelling
- Calming agitated clients
- Clearly conveying features and benefits of products/services
- Composing engaging copy for websites
- Creating compelling presentation slides
- Friendly and engaging personality
- Nonverbal communication
- Public speaking
- Technical writing
- Verbal communication
Employers want to know they have employees they can depend on, and who are responsible and professional. You need to be able to show up on time and get your work done by designated deadlines. When asked about dependability, good examples to share are ones that describe how you were able to meet project deadlines or how you have a great track record of attendance and timeliness.
You can also demonstrate your professionalism in the way you present yourself during the interview. Be sure to arrive early and dress professionally. Look the employer in the eye, and maintain good posture. These small details will show the employer that you are a dedicated, responsible candidate.
- Attention to detail
- Consistently meeting deadlines
- Detail oriented
- Effectively managing multiple projects simultaneously
- High achiever
- Recovering quickly from setbacks
- Results driven
- Strong work ethic
- Success driven
- Tact and diplomacy
- Time management
Teamwork and Leadership
Most jobs require teamwork of some sort. Employers want job candidates who are willing to work with others, and can do so effectively. Hiring managers will be interested both in how you have worked as part of a team and how you manage teams (if you are interviewing for a leadership role).
- Collaborating effectively with business partners
- Cultivating team orientation among staff
- Decision making
- Drawing consensus on group goals
- Facilitating productive meetings
- Managing difficult people
- Mentoring staff
- Motivating staff
- Providing constructive criticism
- Resolving conflicts
- Strategic planning
Information Technology (IT) Skills
These days, pretty much every job requires some level of information technology or computer skills. Whether you are working in administration or education or engineering, you will need some familiarity with computers and various computer programs.
The specific tech knowledge you will need depends on the job. Make sure to carefully read the job description, and mention any relevant computer skills you have in your resume and cover letter. You might even include a “Computer Skills” section on your resume.
You can also emphasize in your cover letter and interview that you are a fast learner who picks up on the latest technologies quickly. If possible, provide an example of a tech skill you picked up easily.
- Creating clean computer programs in the latest languages
- Debugging computer programs
- Diagnosing mechanical malfunctions
- Driving traffic to websites
- Facility for learning the latest computer technology
- Familiarity with graphics programs
- Knowledge of enterprise systems (Oracle, PeopleSoft)
- Making and updating spreadsheets (Excel)
- Organizing and managing data (Access)
- Presentation tools (PowerPoint, Prezi)
- Social media
Examples of Weaknesses
However, be careful that what you mention doesn't exclude you from consideration from the job. While you want to emphasize strengths that are necessary for the job, you want to mention weaknesses that are not relevant to the position.