Everybody has a weakness of some sort — the challenge comes when that weakness interferes with your job search. There are ways to turn your weakness into a strength and eliminate red flags when you’re job hunting. Here are four common job candidate weaknesses and what you can do to mitigate them.
This weakness can show up when someone is looking to change careers, but it’s simply a question of framing, says Kate McKeon, CEO of Prepwise. She worked with someone who had solid work experience as a grade school teacher, but wanted to work in finance with transportation industry clients. “We had to sell the quantitative abilities and crossover skills,” she says. “For example, running a class of fourth-graders became ‘managing multiple concurrent projects.’ If you really dig into the experience you have there are takeaway skills. The more those can be tailored to the firm you are applying to, the better.”
Work history gap
This weakness can be a little more difficult to manage, because you have to work on it as soon as the gap begins because of a layoff or resignation. William Gutches, engagement quality assurance representative at Symbiosis Consulting, recommends volunteering and taking classes to boost your skills as ways to fill empty time on your résumé. “No one who reads your résumé knows whether you are being paid for these efforts or not, but the fact that you are engaged in several efforts shows you are working at your career, developing new knowledge and skills, and have energy for more than one focal point,” he says.
Ciara Pressler of the Pressler Collaborative recommends taking a page from freelancers and highlighting the common themes of your work. “Group them under a common heading (such as ‘arts administration internships’) to make yourself look experienced instead of cut-and-run,” she says.
A weak match