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I have been trying to write this section of "Developmental Areas" in a employment form given by my organization. This is the place where I need to cite a few of my weaknesses.

I actually want to state that "I pay attention to detail in every aspect. (which is actually a positive point). But sometimes in doing so it tends to getting my work completed beyond normal time, meaning my over perfectionism tends to create issues of delay in project completion."

Now I would like to state that point in a direct manner without being overtly harsh and honest. How can I explain this clearly without making myself look bad/exaggerating the issue?

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Usually a weakness is brought up during a discussion, verbally. It is highly unusual to have it listed in a CV. Typically, everything that is not listed in your CV is assumed to be a "non-strength" item. – tehnyit Jul 3 '12 at 13:57
Folks.Really sorry to have mentioned it to be "resume".I have actually been given this employment form which requires me to fill up hence in broader terms i specified it as resume.My apologies. – techie Jul 3 '12 at 15:08
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would focus on areas where you want to grow or receive training. These do not need to be weaknesses. Rather areas where you do not have the knowledge or training you would like.

ie: I would like to be trained on the new ACME 2012 EOW Solutions package. You can also include certifications, licencing, or professional development that would help you grow in your field.

If you have a path you would like to take to address your "Attention to Detail" issue then you may want to include it. However including it in this form will likely hinder your career growth. Prospective managers in the future are liable to look at the issue and even if you have made corrections it is likely to be used against you for your entire career with the company. Even though the document is an employment form do not assume that it will not be used in determining future assignments.

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Nice one.It didnt strike me that i could even include things that i look forward to train myself on.Thanks so much for that idea. – techie Jul 3 '12 at 15:33

If the emplpoyer puts this section on an employment form, they expect you to fill it out. Don't leave it blank, or put "Nothing, I'm perfect!".

In terms of how to write this section, try to keep it positive. For example, instead of:

But sometimes in doing so it tends to getting my work completed beyond normal time, meaning my over perfectionism tends to create issues of delay in project completion."

I'd recommend phrasing it as:

I wish to improve my skills in completing assignments in smaller discrete units so that I can focus on perfecting the final product as well as producing deliverables in smaller time frames.

This second phrase doesn't begin with "But", mentions improving your existing skills rather than deficiencies in your existing skills, and emphasises how you want to do this and how it will benefit the employer. It still mentions how you like to perfect the final product and suggests ways that you can meet deadlines and still aim for perfection.

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@techie wow, that sounds like one bizarre form! They ask you that kind of question and only give you one line? – weronika Jul 3 '12 at 15:38

I blogged about this four years ago. I encourage you to find a genuine weakness in yourself and explain what you need from the company as a result. For example, perhaps you're a streaky worker, someone who gets lit up by a problem and just can't put it down and works till midnight until it's solved. You need an employer that will accomodate that, and give you some time off afterwards so you can rest. Or perhaps you're a little absent minded sometimes. You need an employer that has process, checklists, checks and balances - not one that encourages developers to edit files live on the production server. Maybe you don't like to juggle multiple projects at once and do best with the predictability of long term stable assignments where you know weeks in advance what you'll be doing all day. Or maybe you get bored with that and need a roller coaster of unexpected assignments and fires to put out. In some firms this is a weakness: in some it's a great fit and just what they're looking for. (Woe betide you if you make something up here and end up in a job that's a perfect fit for the rare maverick you pretended to be. Tell the truth.)

The ideal weakness that you would write down here would not be a thinly disguised "I am too awesome for mere mortals" but an insightful truth that helps to show why this company is actually perfect for you. It has to come with a companion phrase "and that's why I need an employer that..." - without the second half, you run the risk that they'll interpret your weakness differently. Always close the loop for them. The more confident you are that you have a lot to offer to the right employer, the easier you'll find this question to answer.

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Your resume is not the place for this. Your resume and cover letter are to get you in the door - and you won't do that by volunteering your weaknesses.

If you're asked during the interview, then you can point this out as a weakness. However, I haven't actually been asked this question in my last couple of interviews, so maybe it's fallen out of favor.

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This is the place where I need to cite a few of my weaknesses

I assume the form actually asks you to cite a weakness.

Dilbert tried this: "I work so hard that I forget to eat or bathe for weeks at a time. Eventually, I starve to death at my desk. I become a bloated, stinking corpse. Insects breed in my body. I spread disease to the entire company."

Sadly, that won't fit on one line.

Try something skill specific, "I need to improve my knowledge of [insert something you would like to know more about here that is somewhat job related]. Perhaps you'd like to know about scripting languages, XML parsing, advanced sort algorithms, BOOST. Pick your buzzword, preferably something related, but not central to, the job requirements.

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