Landing interviews is all about convincing recruiters that you have the right skills, abilities, and qualifications to excel in the job. So, it’s important to highlight your strengths in the most compelling manner in your resume and cover letter.
Typically, these strengths will include both hard and soft skills, as well as work experience and achievements that are related to the company’s mission and goals.
The list of strengths you compile can also be used during job interviews to boost your chances of interview success.
How to Include Strengths in Your Resume and Cover Letter
Resumes and cover letters offer a limited amount of real estate. To make the best possible impression on the hiring manager, you need to be able to highlight your strengths quickly. Here’s how to get started:
1. Assess the Qualifications for the Job
Begin by thoroughly assessing the qualifications for the job. Carefully review the job advertisement and descriptions of similar jobs. Make a list of the core skills, qualities, areas of knowledge, and experiences that employers value the most highly.
2. Inventory Your Strengths
- Construct a list of 10 strengths that would enable you to carry out your target role at a high level.
- Place a checkmark next to the strengths which correspond most highly to the requirements of the job you wish to land.
- Check off the strengths about which you can provide the most compelling evidence, prioritizing your most relevant qualifications.
- Show the results that you produced, the value you added, and the accomplishments you achieved while applying your strengths.
3. Include a Summary Statement on Your Resume
You can reinforce the strengths mentioned in your cover letter by constructing a summary statement at the top of your resume detailing some of your most relevant strengths.
The body of your resume should provide more detailed evidence of how you have applied your strengths in various roles to add value to your employer. Be sure to reference how you employed the strength and the results which you generated whenever possible.
For example, if the job would require you to write high-impact press releases, you might state in a resume description:
Researched product developments for our clients and composed press releases resulting in prominent media placements with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
4. Include Core Strengths in Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter should introduce the recruiter to your strengths and point to your resume, portfolio, recommendations, and any other sources of proof about your abilities. Plan to refer to six to eight core strengths from your list in your cover letter.
Consider using an introductory statement in your first paragraph that points to three or four of your key strengths to assert why you can excel in that role. For example, a candidate applying for a sales job might say:
Strong presentation and persuasive skills along with the ability to close deals have helped me to excel in previous sales roles.
In subsequent paragraphs, you should point to evidence that supports the assertions in your introductory statement.
Be specific. The more you can quantify your qualifications, the better your chances of being selected to interview.
For example, a sales candidate might write:
While working for IBD, I developed a dynamic sales presentation which helped me to increase sales in my territory by 15% over the prior year.
Incorporate similar statements for three to five additional strengths to close out your cover letter.
5. Be Prepared to Discuss Your Strengths During Job Interviews
Keep in mind that whatever you say about your strengths in your resume and cover letter will trigger questions during an interview. Be that sure you aren't stretching the truth and are prepared to substantiate and elaborate upon any assertions during your meeting.
Here are examples of interview questions you may be asked:
- What is your greatest strength? – Best Answers
- How will your greatest strength help you perform? – Best Answers
- What strength of yours will help you most to succeed in this job? – Best Answers
Match Your Qualifications to the Employer’s Requirements Review the job listing, looking for skills, abilities, and experience that are most relevant.
Highlight Core Strengths in Your Cover Letter Place your most valuable qualifications in the opening paragraph.
Tie Your Skills to Results Quantify your achievements whenever possible.
Practice Answering Interview Questions About Your Strengths Be ready to tell a story about how your abilities led to success.