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Recognize your strengths and be yourself

Show of hands, who has sometime read a job ad and been horrified by the requirements? Hi! At least one hand was raised right here. Companies often require that their new employees possess the skills of a ten bullet point competence list, but it’s very rare for any applicant to actually fulfill all the criteria. It pays to realize that often a job ad is a description of the “unicorn of applicants” – and we all know unicorns don’t exist.

Even if you don’t check the boxes of more than five of the ten criteria, that shouldn’t stop you from applying for your dream job. More important than fulfilling a number of criteria is to be yourself. Both in the application and in the potential interview. Being open and honest and knowing yourself are things that employers often appreciate much more than checking every box in a list of requirements.


Imagine yourself in a situation where you’ve managed to snatch up a job that sounds great – you have an impressive title, and everything looks good on paper. In the application and in the interview, you let out a tiny white lie about how you’re a really experienced presenter – it was one of the requirements in the job advert after all. You mean, how much harm can it be, right?

Now you find yourself in a situation where you need to present the results of your work to a room full of corporate executives, although you know that just talking in front of a mirror is already a bit more than you can handle. Still, you can’t back down now and you keep thinking that you should’ve been honest in the interview. When you afterwards talk to your manager, you come to a mutual understanding that the meeting didn’t go as planned that this job doesn’t really seem to be for you.


As you keep talking, you find out that your employer does have some use for your talents. Your manager has noticed how precise and meticulous you are and how diligently you tend to your tasks. They praise your organizational skills and say that your particular strengths as an employee have not gone unnoticed. As a result, you’re offered a job with a new job description better suited for your skills and you don’t have to present in front of an audience anymore, if you don’t want to. All’s well that ends well.

It’s important to bravely be who you are. Whether it’s for a job interview, at the workplace or in life in general. Playing a role is exhausting and uses up our precious energy which we could otherwise aim at things in which we excel naturally. This is not to say it isn’t good to challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone (if we don’t, we’ll never learn or develop) but if the requirements imposed upon us by our surroundings are too much, the worst case scenario is that you suffer a burnout.

In other words, have courage and get to know yourself. Self-knowledge is the key to success. When you recognize your own strengths, you’ll be able to better harness them to your advantage.  You’ll know how to analyze what you know and communicate it to others in a convincing way. You’ll also accept your weaknesses and you’ll be able to say which things you want to develop and where the limits of your comfort zone lie.

Now imagine you have the possibility to always be yourself. What would your life be like? What would it be like to work in a company that lets you be yourself?

When your employer and your work environment value and respect you, you have this opportunity. The only thing that’s needed is for you to have the honesty to be the person you are. So don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Find your own way of working (whether it’s in a peaceful ‘quiet room’ or a social ‘noisy room’ as we say at Sofokus), find the things you’re passioned about and the strengths that you can develop to become an expert in your field. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should always be letting others know what you’re thinking about things. It means that you have an opinion and that you respect that. At the same time, you can give others the space they need to have their opinions as well, and together, utilizing everyone’s strengths, you will find the best possible solution for every situation.


Milla Kallio

Chief Happiness Officer & Partner

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