What are you good at? What do you bring to the table for your employer? Don’t think of how you would answer this question in an interview but, rather, how you would tell a friend who genuinely wants to help you. Imagine that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Think through your skills and strengths and list them out.
It’s Easy to Identify Weaknesses
Many of my clients are good at identifying their weaknesses but struggle to list more than two or three strengths. In many ways, that is human nature. Nonetheless, identifying a strength is much harder than their weaknesses. It’s also easy for people to think through areas they want to improve or wish they were more skilled in. Job candidates who are networking and interviewing need to have a list of their semi-unique skills on the tip of their tongue.
Your Skills are Unique
Many people take their skills and strengths for granted because they come so naturally. It’s common to think that the way you approach a project or work is the same way as everyone else does. However, that is not the case. The reason you may not identify a strength is because it seems normal to you. Just because something comes easy to you (event planning, marketing a new product, or having a hard conversation) doesn’t mean that others find it easy.
Identify All of Your Skills
Take an assessment. One of my favorites is StrengthsFinder. Based on years of research by the Gallup Organization, this assessment can give you a starting place as to what comes naturally to you. Then, debrief with a Career Coach to communicate these areas in a way that helps you stand out. Also, take some time to reflect. What are those ‘things’ that come very easily to you or you recall being praised for in the past (i.e. “you are the most organized person I know”). What is the most enjoyable part of your current job? Often times those things that energize us, are the areas in which we are strong. Another place to identify strengths is looking through past performance reviews. Finally (and better yet) ask! Ask a trusted co-worker or family member or friend.
We all have strengths and believe it or not, you’re unique skill set contributes greatly in a work environment. Don’t focus all of your time worrying about the areas you need to improve and what’s lacking in your career development. Take the time to identify your strengths so you become confident in those areas and use those areas to set yourself apart.