This story was originally published on the Career & Professional Development Center’s blog, Peaks & Valleys.
What makes you successful? What tools do you use to accomplish your goals each day? What skills do you possess that make your accomplishments uniquely yours? The answers to these questions can be difficult to articulate. “Selling” ourselves, networking and interviewing, talking about ourselves is a skill. It’s also hard to talk about these things in your everyday life. I believe that learning about and investigating our natural talents, or “strengths,” is a great place to start.
I began learning about my strengths my freshman year of college by attending the Career & Professional Development Center’s, Discover Your Strengths Workshop, and now, in my senior year, I rely heavily on the language and confidence learning about my strengths has given me. While I have relied on these talents for a long time to ensure my success, I wasn’t conscious of them. I couldn’t explain why the strategies I used to pursue my goals were so successful and effective because they were so natural and automatic to me. I assumed that everyone else must operate in the same or at least a similar way, but we don’t.
My strengths are completely unique to me and not just their presence but also the way they manifest in my daily life and mundane tasks. It took diving into them and my peers’ strengths to really understand this and learn to appreciate them.
Gallup, the company owning the assessment, claims that “The CliftonStrengths Assessment measures your natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Once you have completed the online assessment, you will have access to your personalized CliftonStrengths report. The report will help you understand what you naturally do best and how you can develop and use your talents to live your strongest life possible.CliftonStrengths is ideal for people who want a basic understanding of what they naturally do best; greater confidence and empowerment thanks to a deeper understanding of how they can use their CliftonStrengths to succeed; an easy way to describe their unique talent DNA and improved performance at work and anywhere; as well as strategies to manage, not fix the weaknesses.”
Click here to learn more.
My top five strengths include “Futuristic,” “Strategic,” “Input,” “Maximizer” and “Communication,” which may sound like a bunch of arbitrary words and they are, until you understand what each demonstrates. For example, I use Futuristic to plan my days, set goals for myself and to create my ideal future for myself. I have used this strength to plan my coursework and will be graduating with the degrees I envisioned soon. In addition, I have used my Strategic strength to plan, organize and carefully set the stones to the path to my ideal future, long-term goals and degree path. I also use Communication every day to improve my relationships, set boundaries and let those around me know what I need to accomplish my goals and foster our relationships. My strengths are so important in supporting my day-to-day life. Furthermore, I can use this language and my skills to articulate why I may be a good candidate for a job opportunity.
Throughout my strengths are themes of leadership, encouragement and bringing about the best in people and outcomes and I can use my understanding of my strengths to give examples in my cover letters and in interviews with potential employers. For example, I use my Maximizer strength to use information about those I work closely with to delegate tasks, create opportunities and motivate others to use their abilities and talents to create stronger connections and outcomes as a team. I would then give an example of this in my own life as a Career Development Intern. My Strategic works in a similar way to create game plans that are quick and decisive and naturally build strategies to communicate these changes and create support systems to ensure our success.
Brief descriptions, along with specific examples, can help you “sell” yourself and your skills, especially in work environments that often use strength-based language. Demonstrating that I understand myself, my strengths and how I work with others can give me an “edge” in a competitive market. This knowledge can help an employer get to know you better and paint a better picture of how you may fit in that work environment.
I’ve told you a lot about my strengths, how do you learn about your own?
Students at the U can take the CliftonStrengths assessment for FREE at the Career & Professional Development Center Discover Your Strengths Workshop and have a certified coach debrief the results.
At the workshop, you will:
- Learn more about why Clifton Strengths was created and science behind the assessment
- Take the assessment that asks you to consider “this or that” type questions that demonstrate your natural talents and behavior patterns to discover what strengths you rely on daily
- Get a report of your top five strengths
- Explore peers’ strengths and understand what makes everyone’s strengths unique
This two-hour workshop will be held virtually on Sept. 30, 4-6.30 p.m. MST. RSVP is required through Handshake.