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23 Examples of Personal Weaknesses

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A personal weakness is an ability, knowledge area or character trait that falls short in respect to a particular role or task. It is common to ask for personal weaknesses as part of application processes, interviews and professional development activities. This is a tricky question as it's not a good idea to voluntary your worst character weaknesses. As such, it is common to choose a highly specific weakness that shows that you have put some thought into improving yourself. The following are some common categories of personal weakness followed by example answers in each area.

Planning

I have a strong preference for planning things out in detail and prefer structure to winging it.

Leading

I have several experiences leading teams but I found it challenging because I tend to give everyone too much space and freedom. As such, I prefer being an individual contributor.

Public Speaking

Tend to get stage fright speaking in front of people. This isn't a problem as I always face this fear and can deliver presentations as required.

Art

No artistic skills. For example, if I draw something it tends to look messy.

Visual Communication

I tend to be a verbal thinker and communicate better with words than pictures.

Written Communication

I am a visual thinker who communicates better with pictures than words.

Information Technology

I have no experience with the systems that you are using. However, I have experience with similar systems such as ...

Managing People

I don't think I am a management type as I prefer to be responsible for my own deliverables as opposed to those of an entire team.

Mathematics

I'm not particularly good with numbers. I always got reasonable grades in mathematics but only with hard work.

Networking

I think I could improve my networking skills. I'm not that good at expanding my professional network and meeting new people.

Plain Language

I have been in the industry so long that I often use terminology that may confuse people outside our industry. I'm working on improving in this area. For example, last year I gave a presentation at a conference for ...

Concise Communication

I tend to be a little wordy and need to work to make my emails and presentations more concise.

Second Language

My French grammar is reasonably good but my speaking and listening comprehension need work.

Reserved

I tend to be a little reserved and could be more outgoing in situations where I'm meeting new people for the first time.

Experience

I lack banking industry experience but am working on obtaining the _________ qualification to learn about the industry.

Education

I never completed university because I helped start a company from the age of 20. However, I have learned about computer science with hands on experience such as ...

Time Management

In some cases, I work too hard on a particular assignment such that I don't leave enough time for everything that I need to complete in an evening.

Assertiveness

I could be more assertive in pushing for interesting and rewarding work. I tend to just work on whatever I'm assigned.

Spontaneity

I prefer sticking to the plan and working in a methodical way.

Financial Literacy

I have no experience with managing a budget. However, I did study accounting in school.

Detail-Oriented

I'm not a big picture thinker and tend to prefer working at the detailed implementation level.

Overcommitting

I tend to take on too much work such that my work-life balance suffers.

Promotion

I'm not good at promoting myself and my accomplishments.

Summary

Personal weaknesses are character traits, knowledge areas and abilities that may be lacking in some situation. This is a common interview question that is difficult to answer because it isn't a good idea to emphasize your most serious weaknesses in this context. The question of personal weaknesses also comes up in personal SWOT analysis where you may candidly identify some areas you'd like to develop.

Discussion

If there is an elephant in the room, this is a good choice as a personal weakness. For example, if a job requires experience that you lack.
Highly specific weaknesses are more positively perceived than general weaknesses. For example, "I'm not good with people" is likely to be poorly received whereas something more specific such as "I tend to be hesitant to criticise the ideas of others" may be more positively received.
More about personal strengths:
Cognitive Strengths
Communication
Constructive
Courage
Creative
Critical Thinking
Customer Service
Decision Making
Design
Design Thinking
Diligence
Discipline
Important Strengths
Influencing
Inner Strength
Leadership
Life Skills
Listening
Logical
Management
Managing Risk
Motivated
Networking
People Person
Personal Accomplishments
Personal Power
Personal Presence
Personal Qualities
Planning
Pragmatic
Problem Solving
Productive
Public Speaking
Reliable
Research
Self-Direction
Storytelling
Systems Thinking
Technical Skills
Time Management
Visual Thinking
Win-Win Thinking
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