Flex your strengths--starting with your resume.

As a job candidate, it is critical to understand what today's businesses are looking for in an employee. Having that understanding can help you to shape your resume in a way that highlights your strengths to demonstrate that you are the right person for any given job. Gone are the days when you can simply get by with a resume that emphasizes your skills. These days, you need to know which key strengths to include in your resume if you want to capture an employer's interest.

In this post, we will examine the difference between strengths and skills, and present some of the most important strengths employers are looking for in their new hires. With this information, you should have a better idea of the types of strengths employers desire in 2024, and how to include them in your resume.

The difference between key strengths and skills

Many job seekers mistakenly assume that strengths and skills are one and the same. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It is important to understand the distinction so that you can properly illustrate your own strengths in your resume, without detracting from your listed skills. In addition, a proper understanding of this difference can be critical to your professional growth.

So, what are the key differences between your skills and strengths? It is simple: skills are things that you can learn and do. They are abilities that you can acquire and hone over time. In many instances, skills are perishable talents that must be used regularly to be retained. Examples include abilities like typing, programming, or playing the guitar. While you can enhance those skills through usage, you can also lose them if you do not use them for a lengthy period of time.

On the other hand, strengths are qualities that typically form the core of your character. They are a powerful part of your overall personality and can play a vital role in your success. Like skills, strengths can be improved over time, if you nurture them. Of course, it is important to recognize that everyone has different strengths, which is why it is so vital to use your resume to highlight qualities a prospective employer is likely to be seeking.

Employers are seeking candidates with particular character qualities

When you are applying for a job, you should assume that your rival job candidates possess many, if not all, of the job skills that you have included in your resume. Recognize that those candidates would never have applied for the position if they lacked the requisite skills. Naturally, this fact leads to one unavoidable question: how do employers make a hiring decision when the candidates have the same level of qualifications?

All those employers are looking at qualifications that go beyond those listed in the posted job advertisement. They are looking for specific character traits that can help new hires to quickly succeed in their positions in ways that can provide immediate benefits to the company.

Here are seven of the most relevant key strengths employers are looking for in new job candidates:

1. A proactive attitude

Being an initiative-taker is more important than ever before, thanks in no small measure to the changes many companies have gone through during the pandemic. Are you someone who actively looks for ways to help your company? Be sure to use your resume to describe a time when you proactively solved problems for a previous employer. During an interview, you can reinforce that proactive attitude by asking specific questions about the job's duties.

2. Commitment to collaboration and teamwork

Today's employers are more focused than ever on the power of collaboration. Your resume needs to highlight your ability to succeed in a collaborative environment. You can emphasize this character trait by using your resume to describe your successes as part of a team in previous jobs.

3. Independent thinking

Believe it or not, most managers want team members who are capable of thinking outside the box. You can demonstrate this characteristic in your resume by detailing a time when your independent thinking resolved a problem for a past employer and added real value to the company's bottom line.

4. Self-awareness

Employers need team members who have enough self-awareness to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. That self-awareness often manifests itself in a form of quiet confidence and self-reliance that can provide a host of benefits to any employer. You should focus on demonstrating this quality during your job interview by being prepared, making eye contact, and remaining engaged during the conversation.

5. Critical thinking

Are you a critical thinkerr? If so, you may be just what employers are looking for. The business world is changing at rapid speed, and companies are forced to adapt on the fly. That requires people who are capable of quickly resolving problems as they appear. If you can highlight those critical thinking skills in your resume, you may give yourself a significant advantage over any rivals.

6. Curiosity about your job

As businesses change, the modern employee must be capable of learning new skills and processes. Be sure to use your resume to describe times when you have proactively sought out new information and skills to provide more value for past employers.

7. Goal-oriented

Businesses are driven by goals and objectives. Hiring managers want to see that type of goal-oriented thinking in every new hire, so make sure that you emphasize the importance of goal setting in your life and career. For some helpful advice on setting both short and long-term goals, check out our post,  5 Steps Career-Savvy Professionals Take to Define Their Goals.


Your job skills are a vital part of who you are, but they may not be enough to make you stand out in a crowded field of job candidates. If you want employers to see you as the best candidate for the job, you will also need to highlight your strengths by emphasizing the important character traits that make you who you are. When your resume successfully highlights those key strengths, you can give yourself an even better chance of landing that important interview and job.

Are your key strengths highlighted on your resume? Check today with a free resume review! 

Recommended Reading:

Related Articles: