Back to one of my favourite topics! Once you’ve invested in finding out your strengths, you’ll need to continue developing them. That way, not only will they play a vital role in your current studies and career development, but they’ll also set you up to make the right career choices for life.
A Strengths Profile uses a Best SELF model to give you tips on bringing strengths into your daily student life. There are four stages:
Self-aware – Understanding what you do best is the critical first step on your strengths journey to support career conversations. Value the difference your strengths have already made in your life – connect with experiences, successes, moments of complete joy. Understand your strengths in action, both in the moment and at the end of the day. If you haven’t taken the Strengths Profile assessment through us yet, use the strengths definitions as a guide and ask yourself:
- What makes a really good day for you?
- What do people come to you for?
- What achievements are you most proud of? Why?
Use the language to create common ground with friends and peers, and in preparation for your interviews and job searching.
Explore – Learn more about the authentic you to help you make the right career choices. Hopefully, you now know your strengths, but it’s important to take time to really understand them. Knowing the story behind each strength will give you the narrative in your interviews to talk about them authentically. You can explore your strengths further through the careers services, but also, ask yourself:
- Why are they important to you?
- Where have they come from?
- Which have led to the most success?
- Which ones would you not be without in your future career?
- Which feel like part of you?
Share your strengths in your application process to help you with your personal statement and use the descriptive language to stand out from the crowd. Share how your strengths relate to your existing values and passions, and your future aspirations.
Launch – Time to make a difference in all areas of your life! Launching your strengths is all about putting them into action after all that self-awareness work. Why not try:
- Tease out the strengths that might be required through the job adverts. What are the tasks and which strengths would support their delivery? Do these complement your strengths?
- Consider your values and strengths with regards to the cultural fit of any organisation you are interested in working for. Would you feel valued and be happy working in that environment?
- Use your strengths to get prepared for the assessment process – if you aren’t very organised or struggle with detail, lean on someone who can support you.
- Consider any learning opportunities and internships that play to further developing your strengths to boost your confidence and CV further.
- Reflect on what you don’t want from a future career and take steps towards not falling into the wrong job.
- Use the definitions to create a unique descriptive and authentic strengths statement within your CV.
- Don’t forget to align your personal goals with your strengths. How will you win that game, learn that software code? Consider the goal and the challenges you might face along the way and ignite the right strength.
- Always set future development goals on strengths, not weaknesses. Get your weaknesses to ‘good enough’ and use your strengths to overcome them.
Flourish – Finally, you’ll need to take your strengths on a continual development journey. As you know with life, you usually get out what you put in! Here’s a few tips:
- Don’t be tempted to be a good ‘all-rounder’ or dial up all your strengths, all of the time. Consider your ‘strengths brand’ and what you really want to be known for as you embark on your career and also in your personal life.
- As you make decisions daily, consider the impact you want to have, and which strengths you want your peers and others to come to you for.
- “What got you here won’t get you there” is very relevant when it comes to strengths development. Your current strengths may have supported your studies, but you may want to develop further strengths to land that dream job.
- Keep ‘strength-spotting’ in yourself and recognise when you learn new skills quickly – that’s a sign of a strength in action. Add this to your list of skills.
You can find more resources on SELF on the Strengths Profile website here.
Trudy Bateman (Strengths expert, Capp & Co. Ltd