Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Understand your strengths to help you create a strengths-based career.
If you are ready for a change in your career, you may be interested in learning more about how you can find more fulfillment in your work. It might mean finding a new job, positioning for an internal transfer or promotion, or even starting your own business. But before you take the leap, consider that understanding your strengths can be a good starting point for evaluating any change.
To identify your top natural talents, consider taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment. CliftonStrengths® is an online assessment that identifies your top themes of talent based on your answers to a set of questions. Your top strengths are unique to you and knowing them will help you understand when you are most effective, how you work most naturally, and when you operate at work with the least amount of headache and heartache. Research shows that people who work from their strengths are happier in their work, more productive, more confident, and more engaged.
Evaluate your current work situation in light of your strengths.
First, take the assessment and understand what it’s telling you about yourself. Take stock of where and whether you are using your strengths in your current job. Then, evaluate how you can move more into a position using your strengths and whether that means just adjusting your daily tasks to use more of your strengths by partnering differently with others, moving to a new company with new roles that fit your strengths better, or changing careers entirely. Strengths-based career coaching can help you determine this.
Research opportunities in a way that uses your strengths.
Even the way you go about job search and career transition should look different for people with various strengths. As a person with Communication® and Woo® strengths, for example, I love talking with a variety of new people, including strangers, to gather information on new career interests, but that is not the same way everyone gathers information. By contrast, an engineer with high Analytical® and Input® strengths might thrive more given the opportunity to do research in the library using federal job codes and gathering data to make a spreadsheet of similar industries. Someone with high Deliberative® and Restorative™ strengths might make a list questions and concerns such as, “Does this career pay enough?” This strategy could help to define potential problems and how they could be resolved before looking deeper into specific job postings.
Choose a type of job that uses your strengths.
Knowing your top strengths can also guide the type of job you look for. Ideally, you’ll look for a job where you can use all of your top strengths. You’ll also benefit from understanding which talents describe you to a lesser degree so you can avoid those jobs that primarily require tasks that drain your energy. There are literally millions of possible combinations of strengths so it’s impossible to say that certain strengths lead to certain career matches.
Rather, considering roles, industries, and companies of interest and evaluating job content in light of whether you can use your strengths in a particular role will help you make a thoughtful decision about whether a certain job is a good fit for you. Within every career field there are many different types of jobs, so if you understand, for example, that as a Relator®, you prioritize long-term relationships, and you know you are interested in medicine, you can determine which are the more relational jobs within that industry and you might gravitate more toward nurse practicioner than pharmaceutical research.
Job search in a way that leverages your strengths.
Knowing your strengths can also guide HOW you look for jobs and manage your career. Someone who has top strengths like Learner® and Futuristic® might enjoy reading about emerging careers and taking classes to learn skills in the latest new technologies. While someone with strong Communication® and Connectedness® strengths might enjoy commenting on or publishing articles on LinkedIn to gain followers and connecting to people they can have conversations with about future opportunities.
Communicate your strengths to others in your job search materials and in interviews.
Understanding and communicating your strengths effectively to others during your job search or career transition can help you interview well, guide your conversations with managers, and help you create resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles that demonstrate the unique value you’ll bring to your next role. Consider what you want to promote about yourself before you write these materials or plan your interview answers. If you are a manager with high Intellection®, for example, and want to highlight your ability to discuss ideas, describe a time when you started a discussion group to bring awareness to diversity and inclusion issues in your workplace.
Learn how to tell stories of when you’ve used your strengths in the past and practice putting your strengths into your own words so others can understand the value of them. If you are a surgeon with a strong Deliberative® strength, for example, describe how your strength helps you make careful decisions and anticipate obstacles before surgery.
Pay attention to jobs that have required you to use your lesser talents and be careful not to promote too many of your burnout skills in your materials. If you no longer want to be an accountant and would rather get into graphic design to use your Ideation® and Strategic® strengths to create brand marketing, focus on how creative you were in redesigning the website for your accounting firm rather than the number of tax preparations you completed.
The more clear you are on what you uniquely bring to a job and what you uniquely need from a job, the better you'll be at creating a career that allows you to work from your strengths the majority of the time, and the greater the likelihood that you'll be engaged on the job and successful in your career, creating a more meaningful life.
To learn more about how strengths-based career coaching can help you create your strengths-based career, or to take the CliftonStrengths® assessment and receive an additional report on what you uniquely bring to a job and need from a job based on your strengths, schedule a free Discovery Call at http://communicatingstrengths.com.
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34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.