The following is adapted from Ignite Your Career!
When figuring out your ideal career path and searching for a job, you need all the advantages you can get, starting with the strengths you already possess. I call these your “strengths and superpowers,” and they’re the key to finding a job where you’ll thrive.
After all, if you’re good with people but bad with numbers, you’ll likely be miserable working a job in accounting. But know your strengths, and you can find a career to match.
Knowing yourself sounds simple enough, but often external input is helpful. So, where can you begin? Here are five ways to start uncovering your strengths now.
1. Get Feedback
The first way to learn about your strengths is to talk to professors, coaches, or even family members. Ask them, “You know me. You’ve seen me in action, at school, on the field. What do you think are my strengths? What do you think I’m great at?”
They might offer insights that you’ve never considered.
2. Make Lists
Use lists to deduce your strengths. Start by taking out two sheets of paper. On one, write down everything you have loved doing in current or past school or work roles; the things you enjoyed doing every single day. On the other piece of paper, write down what you hated doing.
The things you love likely correspond with your innate strengths, and the things you hate with your weaknesses.
3. Career Center
Make an appointment with your school’s career center, or if you’ve already graduated, the alumni office. They may have tools and techniques to help you crystalize your strengths, and they can act as a sounding board. Having worked with thousands of students, they have great insight to share.
4. Trusted Recruiters
If you’re already out of school, find trusted recruiters who are experts in your industry. They understand the nuances between different career paths and can help you identify your strengths and how they will help you succeed.
Lastly, impartial assessments, such as StrengthsFinder or YouScience, can teach you about yourself. These are online tools you can use to figure out what you’re good at so that you can focus on careers that will leverage your strengths.
Invest in Knowing Yourself
It can take time to uncover your strengths, but the work is worth it. Armed with insights about yourself, you can find a career that feels as natural as breathing because it’s tapping into your innate talents. As a people person, for example, perhaps you’re better suited for sales than accounting.
Furthermore, by knowing your strengths, you can communicate exactly why you’re the right person for the role when interviewing for a job.
In short, figure out your strengths now, and you’re likely to be happier and more successful early on in your career.
“Kris was an active mentor throughout my MBA journey, always direct and empathetic. She is committed to seeing those she’s worked with reach their true potential. I am so grateful for her guidance in finding the career fit that aligns with my personality, passions, and growth in the marketplace.”
-Alejandro Bolivar-Cervoni, BA Duke University ’13, MBA Washington University in St Louis ’18, Senior Analyst @ SHRM
For more advice on building a successful career, you can find Ignite Your Career! on Amazon.