First-Time Job Search: How to Identify Areas to Improve

By Roberto Angulo

You can normally count on your friends and family to be honest with you. Just as they will tell you about your great qualities, they will also tell you about your flaws. Make note of the feedback not only to identify areas where you need to improve but also to note which of these areas you’ll tell employers about when asked.

Here are some sample traits that you can work on improving, but you should not tell employers about:

  • Bad temper: Nobody likes people with bad tempers. Work on controlling yours, but don’t tell an employer about it unless you’re specifically asked.
  • Lack of patience: We all lose our patience at some point, especially when overwhelmed. Patience is a virtue, and the lack of it is not well perceived.
  • Stubbornness: If you’re stubborn like a mule, you should work on being more open. Being stubborn implies that you’re set in your ways even when common sense says that you should do otherwise. This is a character trait best not mentioned.

On the other hand, here are some examples of flaws where it’s okay to tell the employer as long as you put a positive spin on them:

  • Not delegating: This is a strong negative if you’re a manager, but if you’re just starting out it’s fine to tell the employer. Although it is an area to improve, it’s also a sign that you’re not afraid to take on work and that you do what needs to get done.
  • Being an introvert: This is not necessarily a bad trait, especially if you’re in an individual contributor role where you don’t need to interact a lot with others. You can mention this as an area of improvement. If you have examples of how you’ve overcome it, even better.
  • Worrying too much: Do you tend to stress a lot about certain things? Being able to control stress is a good quality. On the other hand, an employer can interpret your tendency to worry in a positive light because it means you’ll worry about doing a good job.

Improve where you can and don’t feel compelled to share your weak spots with employers. But be ready to talk about them when asked.