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The best approach to answering the "greatest strengths" interview question is to identify a few strong, definitive qualities that make you stand out. This strategy is more effective than offering up a laundry list of attributes, according to MIT career development specialist Lily Zhang.
What to Share
Before your interview, study the job description to figure out the employer's most compelling needs or requirements. Walk in with a plan to communicate two or three benefits that match and that make you stand out.
For an office manager job, you might say, "In my current role as administrative assistant, I am routinely left in charge of the office, and I have demonstrated the ability to coordinate tasks and communicate well with employees and guests." By focusing on specific attributes, you avoid overwhelming the hiring manager, appearing arrogant or blending in with the crowd.
Anyone can speak to having a strength. Unsupported, a strength is just a nice concept. When you support your strength with an example, you prove that you know what the strength means and can demonstrate how you used it to benefit an employer.
For a technical writing job, you could say, "What separates me from many technical writers is that I have a strong appreciation for professionalism and communication. I was regularly praised by my last employer for offering regular updates on task progress and getting projects in well ahead of deadlines."
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.