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Turn your weaknesses into strengths

A positive attitude is important if you want to turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you sometimes think: “I can’t do that!” think again: no-one limits our ability to achieve more than ourselves. It’s important to develop a ‘can do’ attitude; one that’s open to change, self-analysis and constructive criticism. You may discover things you never knew you were capable of.

What we perceive is not necessarily the reality of the situation. For example, the treatment for people who suffer from a fear of spiders, challenges them to handle one to overcome their anxiety. By taking control you will be able to achieve more than you ever expected.

However, it’s also vital to base your expectations on your own strengths and weaknesses. If you have never been the best at maths, you will probably never enjoy or excel in a career as an accountant. Nevertheless, you know yourself better than anyone. Each and every experience at work, as well as in your personal life will have taught you new things about yourself, and there’s always something more to learn. Try to ask others – like your friends, family and colleagues – what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Listen to what they say, and be open to any criticism. Ask a few people to get different perspectives, and don’t forget to ask yourself as well. Write down somewhere what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses; think about what other people have said about you, and match these with any opportunities and threats that are out there in the job market.

This process will help you to make decisions about your next steps. You never know, there may be a more fulfilling job and career out there waiting for you.

Knowing where you strengths and weaknesses are will also help you to:

  • Create a CV that recruiters can’t ignore;
  • Write cover letters that will attract recruiters’ attention;
  • Better handle interview questions about your strengths and weaknesses, in a way that creates the right impression of your suitability for a particular role.
  • Realise possible opportunities where training or an extra qualifications would make a noticeable difference. After all, training is one of the many ways of turning weaknesses into strengths!

When applying for an advertised job, you need to match the requirements of a position with your personal strengths and weaknesses. There should always be aspects that play to your strengths, but there may also be areas that highlight some of your weaknesses.

In an interview, suggests that it’s a mistake to only choose weaknesses that make you look good; something you use to avoid answering honestly. Saying that you are a perfectionist or a workaholic in the hope that you will convey to the interviewer that you are the best candidate could backfire. Therefore, to turn a weakness into a strength, you need to admit to having it. Then you need to demonstrate that you are working to overcome this weakness, or doing whatever you can to improve your performance in that particular area.

Here’s an example of how you can turn your knowledge about a personal weakness into a strength when you are in an interview:

“I am very impatient and get easily frustrated when people don’t make immediate decisions, or get things done quickly. However, I am aware of this and I try to remember that people need time to respond to me and that they may have other priorities to attend to. I am therefore learning to be more patient with my colleagues.”

Jobsite has some very useful information and tools that can help you to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at the Jobsite Personal Profile questionnaire, and use your answers as part of your self-assessment. Remember that by being self-aware you will get one step closer to the next step in your career. Don’t let your weaknesses hold you back; turn them into strengths by taking one step at a time. You can do it!

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  • robert botwood

    at the age of 61 most of my job applications are ignored some companies don,t even bother to reply they make me sick. As regards agism I am having to do odd jobs on a self employed basis just to put food on the table. No help in finding a job whatsoever from the jobcentre total waste of space. At least they used to follow things up for you but they do nothing for their exceptional salary.

  • Ian

    I agree with Robert. It is the exception to get a reply now, i am 60 and have not even bothered to contact the Jobcentre. At least I am able to get other work to (sort of) keep me afloat, and my wife works.

  • John

    I agree with both of you, and I am only 47!!!
    Jobcentre, waste of time, Agencies only want to line their own pockets and direct applications, lucky if you even get a response. Government should put a lot more money in to training the over 40′s, available now nothing!

  • Aine

    I agree with all of the above. Agencies are useless. I need to retrain in something, but there is no help or advice out there. I am also 47 and out of work again. I have only been able to get temp work for the last couple of years. Also every vacancy has between 50 and 60 people applying for it at the moment.

  • E Hill

    I agree with the avove comments; it seems to me that a life time of experience counts for nothing, and agencies are the worse they don’t contact you for months on end and when they do it’s usually because they have got a job they can’t fill because no body else wants it because it’s either crap pay and or a crap job.

  • Anita

    I agree that there are some agencies that are only interested in the candidates that can make them some money. I cannot comment on how easy/difficult it is to find a position after 60 but I am in my mid forties and am still marketable. Yes we do have a wealth of experience and that’s what you have to remember. We definetely have to sell ourselves even harder but I am still convinced we have as much to offer as anyone. It’s getting the right agencies working on your behalf. Just never give up, once the negativity sets in it will be to your detrement.

  • doug

    Not all agencies are useless, tho many are. Its better to build relationships with a few good guys as they are less likely to treat you like shit. However, dont expect anyone else to retrain you, I have to do that all myself. Yes the Job Center has no idea when you tell them you are a Solutions Architect, they just see the word Architect and send you to role at the council planning car parks (as that uses AutoCad and so suitable for an Architect). Whilst I was between jobs I went to MSDN.COM and did all their courses. Looked at the jobs and what they were asking for and learnt it. Yes Agism is rife, but if you have been a developer since 1985 working an many projects, its a safe bet that you have ‘been there and done that’ in many situations. Older people dont job hop either. So look at start-up dot.coms who need someone with a wide spread of skills as you will need to do many roles, not just your 9-5 one. The downside of not being a spring chicken is that you are less likely to have the staying power working 14hr days, or having a Manager that is 20yrs younger than you might find you intimidating. So be a team player(as equals not as grovelling to the boss) and play to your strengths. Yes you may take a lower paid job for the moment, but you can upgrade later and the mean time you are using your skills and building your network.
    OR ‘chant’ for the job you really want, you are worth more than a crap job!

  • Optimist

    All. No response is the way recriiters now work. It’s not related to agism. I hope you all do better over the coming year. Your story is not unique. I remember once feeling really low when even my local tescos didn’t have any vacancies. It’s a selling game which means constant repetition and a need to alter the way the pitch is made or it’s contents every so often.

  • P

    To all, I agree with all your comment.

  • Philip

    i have been out of work since Jan-2010, i am 62 years of age and wonder if i will get a chance to work again, i find the jobcentre a horrible place, the use of the wheatsheaf trust where you can use computers etc, for a 3hour period, very helpful.
    Having applied for about 20 jobs already, only recieving 4 replies, or to no avail.
    Where do people in their 60′s go to find work.

  • Annette

    Worst of all the same jobs are advertised on many different agency/jobsites….. so the figures for the number of jobs are distorted. Take for example the Times on line it professes to have 1XXX of jobs…. but most of them are duplicated ads – I doubt if there are really more than a third of them… so the government figures are not accurate about the real number of job vacancies. I am 59 have been made redundant twice and now work two days a week which is better than nothing but have had to use my savings which are nearly gone – drawn down my pension fund early which was raided an d plundered by the City….. our MP’s and their greediness live in another word and dont get me started on cossetted public sector pensions..

  • Nigel (Disillusioned)

    It would take a very strong argument to convince me at 61 and unemployed for 3 years, that ageism does not exist! Naturally, with the anti-discrimination laws that exist, no one is going to say that is the case, instead one is advised, “Unfortunately, I have received applications from candidates whose experience more closely match my client’s specific requirements”! It speaks volumes about our society when the most vulnerable, from the employment perspective, namely those leaving formal education and those who are sprouting a few grey hairs, are shunned by prospective employers. They have so much to offer and surely they are likely to be more grateful and loyal, then someone who is only motivated by the potential increase in revenue that job hopping may deliver!

  • Doug the realist

    1. How to get a job?
    Come across well at an interview.
    2. How to get an interview?
    Convince an recruitment agent that rings your mobile that you’re suitable for an interview.
    3. How to get an agency to ring you?
    Upload your targetted CV on to each of the job websites used by your industry.
    4. How to target your CV?
    Make sure each of your valued skills/talents are in your CV, so the agent can find them when he searches his database. Also update/reload your CV regularly if things go quiet.
    I know it works, as I’ve done it.

  • Rollacoast

    All this good advice from sites like this is all very well but how can you put across a positive attitude to employers at interviews when you have the regular humiliation at the job centre every two weeks to deal with. Being treated as if being out of work is because we don’t try hard enough, when in reality ageism is rife in the jobs market, puts the older jobless person in a depressing spiral. Maybe they’re trying to take us off the jobless figures by making us sign on sick.

  • mike

    you will all get jobs if you are british, but only
    if the BNP become the goverment.

  • kitten

    I too are part of the ageing jobseekers and can from my past experience express my support to “Unfortunately, I have received applications from candidates whose experience more closely match my client’s specific requirements”! That the answer you get. Regarding jobcenters that gets me to depressed even to write about it. I want to work but it seems like no-one even wants to believe me. There is this I thing government initiated company called “Maximus UK” where they send you after being unemployed for more than 15 months trying to get you a job. I would love to hear if you have/had any experience with them.

  • C Williams

    Mike, if that apparently pro-BNP comment is meant to be a joke, then I apologise for not getting it. But if you’re serious, you know where you can stick it.

  • Citizen Smith ( Des)

    Yes all of the above comments are true and things are worse than the last reccession due to the influx of East European Labour which has been encouraged by the last Goverment.
    Also agencies are recruiting from offices they have opened in East European Countries.The constuction Industry has been particularly badly hit by this,as the last Government has awarded major contacts to Foreign Contactors and Sub-Contrctors.For Example take the Olympics at Stratford British Workers are not being employed as it was said they would be .At the start of this venture it was said by Goverment that Local Labour would be employed on this contract implying that it would be local people who had been living there all their live, and were
    going to pay the Taxes and Rates to pay for the Olympics .This is not the case as cheap East European Labour are jointly renting property in the area to enable them to work at the Olympic developement.This is only one example and people never seem to mention this and it is a major problem.Dont believe it when you here there are no British Construction Workers,there are plenty but they are out of work due to the cheap East European Labour which is also being exploited.Lets see what the new Government does for British Construction Workers ,lets hope it does as good a job as the French and Germans do for their workers,after all its the MP’s that take our taxes for the fat salaries and expenses they get,and when posted to Brussels they get even more! and still at our expense .Lets hope this lot stick by their word and stop the influx of cheap East European Labour. It is also right to say that East European Contractors only employ white East Europeans which is also not acceptable in todays society.So you all know what to bang on about now, or nothing will change and it will only get worse.

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