Over 2 decades as an executive recruiter, recruitment consultant, and resume writer to professionals in Calgary, AB and indeed across Canada, I’ve specialized in coaching top professionals in uncovering their true value proposition, how to create a laser-focused applications for a specific roles, and how to address the needs of the target organization.

Yes, it’s a classic question that comes up time and again!

It’s also an important one, and one of the questions many people struggle with quite badly at interview.


Ok, so have 5 strengths ready to bamboozle them with. However, be prepared to give an example of each of those strengths in action. Most people are ready to rhyme off 5 items, but very rarely have they prepared to discuss these strengths in action with an interviewer.

For example

You: “I have excellent organizational skills”

Interviewer” “Ok, could you give me an example of how your organizational skills helped you achieve a specific objective at work”.

See how that evolved?

So, for every strength you are ready to offer the interviewer, you should prepare example scenarios of that strength applied in a practical setting. To do this, use the S.T.A.R. method to relay the scenario to the interviewer – Situation. Task. Action. Result. I cover this is my interview coaching sessions.

***Top Tip: Wherever possible, choose a strength that matches the needs and requirements of the target role. Again, look over the job description. Can you see 5 of your strengths in there?***

What if the employer wanted someone to;

-Build Customer Relationships

-Negotiate Complex Commercial Contracts

-Collaborate with Cross-Functional Teams to Achieve Corporate

-Targets Maximize Sales Opportunities

-Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.

Wouldn’t it be funny if they also just happened to be 5 of your strengths?

Let the job spec be your guide. If you can genuinely claim that your top 5 strengths also just happen to mirror the requirements listed in your target job, then you’re off to a very good start.

What if I don’t have a job spec to work with Ken?

Then, you anticipate the needs of the company based on the general profile of the role or any other information you can acquire.

Perhaps you could look on LinkedIn at people doing the same role – what do they list as their duties & responsibilities?

Try a Google search and look for cached entries of past job descriptions the company has put out.

So, prepare to list 5 strengths, and be prepared to give examples of them in practice. Rehearse them tirelessly and test them out on a friend or relative.

Ken Docherty is provides professional resume writing services to clients in Calgary, AB. Ken is a Certified Master Resume Writer and Certified Executive Resume Master, in addition to being a multi international award-winning resume writer, experienced executive recruiter, and former employment agency owner.