An important factor with any interview is being able to distinguish yourself from the next “guy” that walks through the door. Sometimes when asked what our strengths are we tend to think “knowledge based skills.” These are the skills you learned from experience and education. While these skills are important, the next “guy” may be equally qualified in these skills. There are two other categories that are very important when establishing your uniqueness, and those are your transferable skills and your personal traits.
– skills learned through experience or education – computer programs, graphics, languages, writing, training, management, chemistry, coaching, sales, leadership.
These skills will certainly be important – speak another language, strong technical background, special knowledge or degrees. But, the personality fit, and chemistry will be important as well. It is important that you be able to “engage” with your interviewers. Let them know that you are a person who would be a good partner to be with.
– skills that are portable – you can take them with you to almost any job – communication, listening, decision making, judgment, initiative, negotiation, planning, organizing, time management, some leadership skills.
Identifying transferable skills is especially important for anyone who is transferring to another field or type of organization. Think about what you have to offer in the way of transferable skills. Chances are that you are probably taking some of the skills that make you unique for granted.
– qualities that make you who you are – flexible, integrity, friendly, dependable, decisive, reliable, calm, high-energy, patient, good attitude, adaptable, detail-oriented.
These skills cannot be taught, even though some employers would like to, and should be valued as important.
When trying to establish what makes you unique, think of all three categories and where you want to focus to let the interviewer know that you are the best person for the job and why.