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Using Weaknesses to Your Advantage

Just about everyone has been in an interview where a potential employer asks you to list your top weaknesses and why. This can often be one of the most difficult questions to answer because you don't want your weaknesses to cost you the job. However, there is good reason why employers ask this question. When you learn how to best identify your weaknesses and then how to effectively use them to your advantage, you will impress your employer and increase your chances of getting the job.

Prepare Ahead of Time

It is typically difficult for people to identify their weaknesses. Before you even go to an interview, it is important to really think hard about what your weaknesses are. You can almost guarantee you will be asked this question at your next interview so it is best to be prepared with an answer. Most people can list their strengths quickly, but their weaknesses often lead to silent gaps. You will really impress your potential employer if you have a good answer right away instead of thinking about it at the interview.

Identify Your Weaknesses

As you consider your weaknesses, you need to think about what your skills are and where you are lacking. Just because you are lacking in an area, though, doesn't mean you won't be a good fit for a job. While you shouldn't feel intimidated by listing off anything you view as a weakness, it is important to put a positive spin on those weaknesses. This is why it is important to learn how to best use those weaknesses to your advantage.

Choose the Right Jobs

The first thing you need to do after you identify your weaknesses is to look at the requirements for a job. If one of your weaknesses is communicating with other people, particularly over the phone, you won't be a good candidate for a call center job. However, if your weakness is in understanding a specific computer program, this may not automatically disqualify you for a job. The best thing to do is weigh your strengths and weaknesses against each other to determine how to make them work for the job you are seeking.

Work Hard on Your Weaknesses

With the example above where a computer program is your weakness, you can easily turn it into a strength. All you need to do is take a class or spend some time learning the program well. In most cases, what you see as a weakness is something you can easily turn into a strength if you are willing to work at it. Even if you are afraid of speaking in front of people or aren't comfortable talking on the phone, you can turn this into a strength. When you are interviewing, this is information that can help you look better to your potential employers.

What Are They Looking For?

You may wonder why employers want to know about your weaknesses. The answer is simple. They are looking for some insight into your character, as well as how you typically handle obstacles. Another common question in interviews is how you have handled a problem in past jobs. Asking you about your weaknesses and how you work around them lets potential employers know whether you will be a good fit for their company.

The interview is the time to let employers know why they need to hire you. This can leave you feeling hesitant to share any weaknesses. However, revealing your weaknesses won't typically cost you a job because they can all be worked on and improved. Instead, they offer your potential employer insight into your qualifications and personal character.