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A Strange Résumé

God turns our weakness into incredible strength.

Introduction

It's the most dreaded question of the job interview, and when the time comes, you can't seem to push the words out of your mouth. "Tell me," the interviewer asks, "what's your greatest weakness?" How do you answer that question? If you don't come up with something, you sound arrogant, but if you come clean with your weakness, they might not hire you.

Monster.com, the job search website, describes a variety of strategies for answering that question. One approach is to disguise your weakness as strength. For example, you might say, "I'm such a perfectionist I sometimes expect too much of myself or others." Another strategy is to minimize your weakness by explaining how you've already overcome it: "I can be a very task-oriented person, but I've learned that working with people is the most effective way to accomplish a goal." A third strategy is to share a real weakness, but make sure it is completely irrelevant to the position. If you're applying for an accounting position, for example, you don't want to admit that you're not a detail person.

Maybe you heard about the manager being interviewed for a new position. "My department has turned a profit every quarter for the past five years," the candidate says. "I've never had a personnel problem, and I've always gotten superior performance reviews."

"Very impressive," the interviewer replied. "And what's your greatest weakness?"

"I tend to exaggerate."

Revealing our weaknesses is one of the last things in the world we want to do, whether we're looking for a job, pursuing a relationship, or just talking to friends. We don't like to admit our weaknesses to ourselves, let alone to other people. That's why we stack our résumés with degrees earned, awards received, ...

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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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