Discovering Your Strengths

It can sometimes be difficult to choose a career path when you're uncertain what your strengths are. If you've recently left school, – or are contemplating a career change but are unsure of the direction that would best suit you – take the time to think about your strengths and how you might best be able to incorporate them into a career that can make the best use of what you have to offer.

The first step toward discovering your strengths is appreciating the best parts of you, which leads to understanding your personality better. This is not only great for your self-esteem and a proven mood booster, but also has a positive impact on your mental health.

One situation where you are required to talk up your best qualities is at a job interview. Interested potential employers will look at your resume (which you've hopefully spent days perfecting), look at you (you've dressed to impress) and mentally assess how well you might fulfill a role within their business. The difference between you potentially getting the job or not though, largely lies in your ability to sell yourself outside of your polished resume and carefully selected interview outfit – it lies in your ability to sell your strengths.

Scientific researchers have identified 24 personality traits that everyone has, to a certain degree. A good way to start thinking about your particular strengths is to think about each of these categories and determine which most reflect you:

Kindness                Fairness                  Leadership           Gratitude              Persistence         Bravery                                    

Love of learning                  Curiosity                Originality            Open mindedness             Zest

Integrity                Self-control         Prudence              Sense of humour                Hope      Modesty

Spirituality           Social intelligence            Ability to love/be loved                                   Forgiveness

Perspective         Teamwork            Appreciation of beauty

Our best personality traits are not something we really think about too often, so how do you know if your self-assessment is an adequate reflection of self, or merely a desire to have those traits? There are a number of ways to help you determine your top strengths, starting with asking the opinion of those who know you best. Family members, friends, teachers, counsellors and previous employers are a good place to start – each of these groups would know many and different aspects of your personality and are well suited to help you determine your top traits.

Thinking about your achievements and things you've done that you are proud of – such as perhaps teaching a child to read, volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating to charity or winning an award – are all testaments to your character and require specific personality strengths to achieve. Make a list of all those things and determine the personality traits you used to attain the positive outcome. Did you employ originality? Kindness? Leadership? After thinking about it for a little while, you will be amazed at your list of strengths – many of which you'd probably never previously considered!

Lastly, think about the compliments you've received. Compliments are greatly reflective of your strengths and are how others see you. You may have been told that you always commit 100% (Love of learning, Persistence, Integrity), you have a lovely smile (Happiness, Kindness, Hope) or you're so kind (Open mindedness, Kindness, Integrity). These self-analysis steps will help you determine your strengths and give you a greater chance of being able to use them for positive outcomes.


The CFS Team
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