How to Get Some Clarity Around Career Direction (Part 2: Strengths)
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‘Well, I’m good at erm…. playing football. And erm…maybe listening to others.’
It’s totally natural. Most of us don’t like talking about our strengths. Either because we haven’t really considered what they are. Or we don’t want to brag.
But that has to change when you start applying for placements and internships. Knowing your strengths is important for TWO reasons…
So, what’s the difference between skills and strengths?
SKILLS are something you learn through repetition - for which there is a best practice or a set way of doing something. (E.g. I have learnt how to speak French fluently.)
STRENGTHS, on the other hand, are defined as things we are naturally good at and didn’t really have to learn. Or they are seen as softer, rather more intangible character traits, such as courage, curiosity and empathy.
What are YOUR strengths?
Here are some questions to help you identify your strengths. You can choose answers from any area of your life. Keep drilling down to the detail by asking yourself ‘what’s specific about that?’.
e.g. I’m travelling abroad exploring different cultures.
What’s specific about this? I’m really curious about new people, new places and new experiences. It brings out creativity in me. I have to be courageous and get out of my comfort zone.
The things we like about ourselves are usually things we’re good at.
Sometimes we take our experiences for granted, not realising that we use our strengths to overcome and deal with difficult times.
If you’re struggling to answer these questions, ask your parents and close friends what they would say your strengths are.
Looking at all the answers above, what are your top three strengths that you would like to use in a job or career?
After a varied career across marketing, recruitment and training Rachel Harrison qualified as a career coach and founded My Professional Hat. Her coaching and training business inspires students and graduates to set out on the right career path for them, by helping them with career direction, mindset, practical skills, and focused action planning. She is co-author of the Lonely Planet Volunteering Book, loves tennis, travel and hanging out with friends.