Identifying Your Personal Strengths

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

You are at an interview at the place that you really like. The interview is going great, but then the interviewer asks you this question: “List down your greatest personal strengths.” You go blank and you start wondering what your personal strengths are (clearly making up strengths is not your strongest trait!). The need to identify your strengths can also happen at the next performance evaluation at your current workplace, where you will have to highlight reasons to get a good appraisal. In this blog, I will talk about all that you can do to identify your core strengths that make you a valuable member of any workplace.

Let us start by discussing the four main personality kinds with their strengths and identify areas where these strengths are most relevant and applicable:

  • The Envisioning Ones. We are living in times where work is interdependent and ever changing. In such challenging times, people who are visionaries and those who have the strength to envision can see themselves grow substantially. People who can understand questions like “where do we stand?” and “where do we want to go?” are the ones who can drive companies and businesses to success. Modern day strategists, marketers, CEOs, and CCOs have this quality of envisioning. After all, this is how some people progress their careers from an Intern to a CEO.
  • The Detailed Designers. Those people who have the ability to design can find themselves well sought after. Good planners are able to answer questions like “what do we need to do” and “when do we need to do it”. These strengths make for good planners, analysts and CFOs.
  • Bob the Builders. Another key personal strength is the ability to build. Process-oriented people are able to answer the questions like “how do we get there?” These people are usually very systematic at workplaces and enjoy repetitive tasks (much opposite to visionaries). Individuals who are good builders excel at IT systems management, logistics and CTO positions.
  • The Operational Geniuses. Finally, there are those who have a strong characteristic to operate. Operators are responsible for making things happen with other people and come with a lot of energy for all interactions with humans. Their focus is on answering questions like “who will get the job done.” People with strong operate characteristics are perfect fit for sales jobs, mentoring others and becoming COOs at organizations.

In addition to the above personality traits, jobs in the HR and management departments require individuals to possess leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills. Briefly, the personal strength that will help you most at your workplace will be the ones that set you apart from the crowd, are relevant and applicable in your function and give you an edge over most of your fellow team members. In this search for your strength, one thing that you need to keep in mind is that you will have to look at your inner self to identify the kind of person you are and what makes you special. Never let your existing job, your experience or even your education dictate the person that you really are. This is because there is a good chance that external pressure influenced your education and experience. To leverage your strengths, you will need to think smartly.

It is important to work at a place where your greatest strengths come out, otherwise your performance and more importantly, your motivation will suffer. Being able to demonstrate your personal strengths will allow you to feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment, resulting in everyone else around you benefiting from your confidence.

We have discussed the traits of different kind of people along with the personal strengths that they might have in them. But how do you know your personality and what strengths you hold within? These five tips should help you assess and apply your personal strengths effectively at work:

  1. Be open to what others say about you – It is important to listen to when others compliment you. Others are going to notice your strengths and compliment you on them. You might be complimented on your creativity, attention to detail or communication skills. It is good to actually get in touch with a friend or colleague and directly ask them what they think are your greatest strengths. Once you get an answer, just ask the same question to yourself and see if the answer stays true. Therefore, if anyone compliments you on your dedication and commitment to work try and recall the times these attributes in you have paid off for your team. If you are complimented for being honest, try and recall the times you have given honest advice to your clients on the budget spends and/or any project that you seriously felt was flawed and you expressed your concerns to them. Once you realize that the compliments ring true, you might want to include them in your resume and remember the stories around them to highlight this strength in your next interview or employee evaluation.
  2. Know the things you love – Ask yourself this question: If there were one thing that you could do for the rest of your life, what would that be? Dream big and do not limit your answer to your circumstances. Look for the things that you really enjoy outside your workplace. You might be great at writing your thoughts or you might truly enjoy socializing with people or traveling. Now try to see if your interests of can be used at your workplace to enhance your contributions. If you enjoy writing, you might be able to help your company with their blog or monthly newsletters. You might also want to put your skill to use by freelancing for other businesses in your spare time. If you love to socialize, you might be great at helping your company with their business development and client servicing. Being true to your passions will also help you map out a career plan that highlights your ultimate strengths.
  3. Find what you like in your daily routine – It is good to consider your ordinary workday and see the tasks that you enjoy the most each day. It might be that you specifically enjoy team scrums or like to write technical documents in isolation and without any interruptions. If unsure, just ask yourself what you are usually doing when the time seems to run out. If the time you spend in preparing campaign strategies seems to fly by then it is possible that you thoroughly enjoy that work and you might want to ask more of similar tasks.
  4. Identify your comfort zones – It is not always about identifying your strengths. Sometimes, you would have to look into your comfort zones to see what exactly you excel at professionally. You can look at the kind of relationships that bring out the best in you and ask your management for more of that. For example, you might enjoy the idea of presenting ideas to your management and/or clients and leading such a relationship might thrill you. On the other hand, you might be more of an introvert who enjoys working in silos or with internal teams to deliver projects on time. So look for your comfort zone to understand your strength.
  5. Have special attributes – One thing that really annoys me is to see resumes mentioning attributes such “I’m a team player”, “I’m a perfectionist” or “I am dependable”. It will significantly help you if you are more specific in defining your skills. To stand out, you will need to give specifics like “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to preparing digital marketing strategies.” It is also important to keep yourself away from becoming just a commodity. For example, you might have worked in the marketing industry, but to stand out, you will need to look at the areas within the function that you are good at and highlight those. This can be that you are great at Social Media Marketing (SMM) and so you should highlight this attribute to distinguish yourself from the pack.

I hope these 5 tips will help you better identify your personal strengths. I will also like to recommend you speaking your parents or siblings. There are things that your family knows about you that you did not consider. The people you cannot run away from may just help you out here. Whatever you do, do not assume things and stay true to yourself – you will understand your strengths (and weaknesses) only if you are honest with yourself.

Let me know in the comment section if you have been able to identify your personal strength(s) with the help of this blog post or if you have your own methods to find out your superpowers.

If you realize that you have some key strengths that your existing career path is not letting you exhibit, you might want to make a big career change. Do check out our other blog titled “Career Planning: What To Consider For Future You” – it is great for those of you seriously planning a career move.

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This post is part 6 of 9 in the series Job Hunting

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