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Describing Your Strengths - The Qualities You Should Convey in Your Resume

When prospective employers are reviewing your resume, they are looking for more than the relevant experience you have — they want to find out everything you bring to the table and that includes your strengths. By identifying the strengths you offer, a hiring manager can best determine if you are a fit for the job and their organization. More importantly, they can see if you’re the one that stands out from the rest.

You may ask “Doesn’t putting your strengths on your resume appear boastful?” The answer is it doesn’t if you convey your strengths in the right way — being specific, providing examples, appearing authentic and weaving them carefully into your resume.  

Your strengths would be related to:

  • Experience with a certain application, performing a specific task, or working in a particular industry.
  • Relevant achievements such as a track record of positive customer reviews, running successful programs, maximizing equipment or tools or implementing new methods that achieved results.
  • Special abilities such as creating slide presentations, writing proposals, and organizing events.
  • “Soft skills” or competencies such as problem solving, leading projects, managing teams, mediating, etc.
  • Education and training on topics critical to the job, such as other college degrees or majors, certifications, training seminars, etc.
  • Positive personal strengths that you can relate to job performance, such as ease with talking to people and being a team player.

Where to put strengths in a resume

You want to insert strengths where they would be most appropriate in your resume. They could be presented in a bulleted list below or as part of your “Summary of Qualifications,” which should be at the top of your resume. Strengths can also be among the responsibilities, achievements and acquired skills you list with each job in your “Experience” section.

What to think about to convey your strengths on your resume:

  • Have a clear sense of your job-related strengths. Be honest and perform some self-analysis to identify your true strengths and present your authentic self. If you get stuck trying to develop your list of strengths, ask a trusted colleague or friend, look at past performance reviews or see if common themes emerge from your resume.
  • Identify specific strengths, not generic ones that could be claimed by most people (e.g. “relationship-building” rather than “people skills”).
  • If you find yourself with a long list of strengths (10 or more), try to narrow them down to the top five or to the most relevant strengths to the position/job you are pursuing.
  • To be specific when describing strengths such as “Creativity” or “Problem-solving,” include a quick example or story of how you used that strength to achieve results. For example, “Applied creativity to the development of eye-catching email campaigns and flyers that helped drive 200 attendees to the Fantasy Games Event.”
  • Use powerful language to describe your strengths — positive, action words such as “motivated,” “resourceful,” “persistent,” “results-oriented” and “adaptable.”

Strengths can also be conveyed in your resume without spelling them out. For example, if you present a resume that is very neat and well-organized, hiring managers will view orderliness as one of your strengths. If you provide illustrative descriptions of your job responsibilities, skills and achievements, then written communications will be seen as one of your strengths.

By both describing your strengths directly and demonstrating them through your resume’s presentation, you’ll succeed at not only getting your strengths across, but showing that you are a well-rounded candidate with a great deal to offer.

Resume Tips: How to Write a Summary of Qualifications
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