Your Strengths & Employers’ Needs: A Match Made in Heaven?

Remember the image of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders? Fortunately, you don’t need quite that much strength to be successful in your job search and career management. However, you do need strengths that make you an attractive candidate for the companies you’d like to work for, and you need to present those strengths to employers compellingly.

Play to Your Strengths Competitive Advantage 3d Words Background

What are Your Job-Related Strengths?

Maybe this should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway.  If you’re strong in something your target employers don’t place high value on,  that’s not going to help you land the job you want. You must identify key job-related strengths that employers have indicated a significant need for in their organization. Then you can begin the task of highlighting those strengths to attract employer attention and interest.

Some people advocate spending a fair amount of time on identifying weaknesses rather than strengths, so you can build up those weaknesses and maybe even turn them into a kind of strength. I can see a bit of sense to that approach–IF a particular weakness is standing in the way of your snagging the kind of job or career field you’re after and you have a realistic chance of turning that weakness into something that works in your favor.

If that’s not possible, what should you do?

I wouldn’t spend a lot of time agonizing about this. Weigh the pros and cons, such as: How close is the weakness to being a strength? (In other words, is it realistic to even consider working to improve it?) How badly do you want the job or career that requires it to be a strength? Is there another desirable career path (option) that doesn’t require the weakness to become a strength?

Then make as impartial a decision as you can about whether to try to advance in that direction or not.

Swot Analysis to assess a company's potential

Your Job Search SWOT Analysis

Businesses frequently use a concept called SWOT analysis to determine whether or not to move ahead with a particular goal or project, such as deciding to move into a new market for their products or to develop a new product that will compete with other companies’ products in a particular market.

As a part of your strategic job search, you could do worse than adopt the SWOT concept. Here’s how that might work:

  • S: What Strengths do you have that employers need? (See the ongoing theme here?) Analyze them yourself, but consider asking someone else to do it, too, if you have access to someone who’s knowledgeable but also moderately unbiased.
  • W: What Weaknesses do you have that might get in the way of your search for a great new job? As mentioned above, focus on one only if it makes really good sense to improve that weakness, but be aware of any possible impact on your chances for a successful job search.
  • O: What Opportunities have you been able to identify? What requirements do those opportunities have, and how does your background (skills, experience, etc.) stack up against the competition for those opportunities?
  • T: What Threats will your job search face in the chosen direction? This is somewhat a continuation of the “O” item above. You know you’ll have competition; everyone does. The question is: What’s the nature and extent of that competition? You need to know as much as you reasonably can about the potential impact on your job search results, so you can take appropriate countermeasures.

Can you cover all the bases, all the time, and ensure a 100% successful job search outcome? Probably not, but you can and should make a serious effort to parlay your strengths into a satisfying new position.

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