Professional Development: How to Identify Your Strengths
A strength is a combination of your inherent talents and skills. When you leverage a natural talent (something that you are good at or that comes easily to you) and combine it with learned skills, this creates a strength. Identifying your strengths is important because it allows you to determine how to best leverage them to advance your career path, to stand out in a job search, and to achieve greater job satisfaction.
Unfortunately, many professionals aren’t sure what their strengths are. This can lead to missed career opportunities and career burnout. Don’t let that happen to you! Follow our simple two-step guide to start identifying your unique strengths and be on the way to greater career satisfaction.
1. Identify your natural talents. Ask yourself and three other people who know you well the following questions:
- What things have you excelled at in the past?
- What do people ask you for your opinion or advice on?
- What do you do better than anyone else you know?
Write down everything that comes to mind, and don’t limit yourself to what you do currently for work. When interviewing others, stay objective and don’t argue. You may discover something new about how others perceive you that previously would have discounted. You may also find it helpful to take a career assessment for further help.
2. Identify your unique strengths. We all have different strengths, and even those of us with similar strengths use them in different ways. You want to determine what you can offer a client or an employer that others can’t. This is also called a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). To identify your USP, determine your top 5 strengths from the list you compiled in step 1 above. Now combine that with your past and previous experience in your industry. For ideas on what makes you unique from other professionals, you may find it helpful to look up others in your industry on LinkedIn and see what skills they list.
By taking the time to implement these two steps, you will be able to better articulate your strengths to your employer and brand yourself more clearly to clients. This will also help you determine if you could make adjustments in your current role to use your strengths more regularly, which will contribute to your overall fulfillment.
To learn more about your strengths and how they can contribute to your ideal career, check out our Identify Your Ideal Career Workbook. View our sample pages here.