Updated: Nov 4, 2022
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For a career that feels effortlessly successful, play to your natural strengths, skills and areas of genuine interest. These are the things that come so easily to you, you think, “Anyone could do this!”
Knowing your top 5 skills also gives you a powerful edge during the job seeking process. Understanding the key skills you possess will help you clearly communicate the talents and abilities you have to offer a potential employer.
In this article, we will cover:
Knowing Your Strengths Is the Key to Career Success
There are countless studies that show how people who know and use their strengths are happier and more successful. Knowing your strengths is the first step to create a path towards your ideal job and career. Plus, as you use your strengths regularly, they will become stronger, which will make you more successful overall.
With stronger strengths, you’ll be able to handle weaknesses more effectively. You’ll be less stressed, more focused, and able to achieve your goals more easily. Matching your strengths with the right job is the most important factor in career success. The right job is one that plays to your unique strengths.
With that in mind, let's look at 5 key career strengths in detail:
1. Strategic Thinking
Strategic Thinkers focus on the big picture, trends, and patterns. They always look for what’s next and how things fit together. They excel at breaking down complex problems and finding straightforward solutions.
Strategic thinkers are often found in management roles. They are able to connect the dots between team members and departments, which makes them great leaders. They thrive when they have a clear vision and a plan to execute it. Strategic thinkers will often take the lead on projects, bringing teams together to create the big picture. Strategic thinkers are curious. They enjoy learning about new ideas and ways of doing things. This curiosity means strategic thinkers are always ready for new challenges and opportunities.
Strategic thinkers often enjoy working on large-scale projects. They like being at the center of change and progress. They thrive when they have a clear goal with a defined path to get there. Strategic thinkers usually prefer job roles where they can see the big picture and understand how their role contributes to a larger goal.
2. People Leadership
People with a People Leadership strength are natural leaders. They are able to see the best in people, and they are inspiring, empathetic, and caring. These leaders see the bigger picture by bringing people together and encouraging collaboration. They also understand how to give constructive feedback in a way that empowers and uplifts their team members. People leaders often enjoy roles that involve managing others or working in a team setting. They are great at promoting open communication and collaboration. They tend to thrive in environments where there is a lot of discussion and feedback. People leaders thrive when they have a clear vision and path for their team. They are often found in senior management positions where they can set their own path and guide others towards a shared goal. People leaders are often strategic thinkers who can see the big picture and understand how their team fits into the overall goal. People leaders also thrive when they have a team they can support and guide. They prefer collaborative environments where they can provide feedback and offer emotional support and empathy to their colleagues.
People with an Insightfulness strength are curious and innovative. They are always looking for new opportunities and ways of doing things better. These people are excellent at finding patterns and creating solutions. They enjoy the journey of finding solutions rather than simply focusing on the result. Insightful people often enjoy research and analysis jobs. They are curious and like to explore new topics. They often enjoy hands-on research where they can explore different topics and learn new things. People with an Insightfulness strength also enjoy entrepreneurship and creating their own business. They are creative and enjoy exploring new ideas and ways of doing things. They also tend to be very hands-on. Insightful people enjoy trying new things, making mistakes, and learning from their experiences.
4. Problem Solving
Problem solvers are able to break down problems into their component parts and find straightforward solutions. They are detail-oriented, enjoy working with facts, and are good at managing time. Problem solvers often enjoy working with numbers, data, and solving practical problems. Problem solvers often work in managerial roles. They are great at bringing together different departments and making sure tasks are completed on time. They thrive when they have a clearly defined problem to solve and a set of facts to work with. People with a problem-solving strength often enjoy hands-on jobs where they can make things happen. They are often found in engineering, construction, and repair jobs. They enjoy working with their hands and finding straightforward solutions to practical problems.
Confident people are self-assured, optimistic, and positive. They are comfortable in their own skin and like to lead. Confident people are often natural leaders who are able to inspire their team members and create an optimistic environment. Confident people often enjoy leadership and management roles. They are comfortable being in the spotlight and speaking in public. They are also very empathetic and caring towards their team members. Confident people are often very creative. They enjoy expressing themselves and trying new things. They also tend to be very hands-on and enjoy the journey of creativity, rather than simply focusing on the final product.
Discovering your top 5 strengths
Are you a strategic thinker, a people leader, or an insightful problem solver? Do you thrive in collaborative environments or lead from the front? Are you able to spot trends and patterns, or are you constantly searching for new information? How do you react under pressure?
Your answers to these questions will help you identify your top 5 strengths. These strengths will help you identify your areas of opportunity, as well as explore potential career paths that align with your unique abilities. Utilising this information can also help land your next job. You’ll be better positioned to market yourself when applying for roles by targeting employers that align with your natural talents and abilities.
First, use our key questions below to identify your top 5 strengths. Reflect on your past jobs and current position. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Is there a pattern? What types of tasks do you excel at? Are there any gaps between where you are now and where you want to be?
Then, think about your ideal job or career path. What are your interests and passions? What are you curious about? What type of environment do you want to work in? What are you good at?
Next, ask people for their insights. What do the people closest to you identify as your top strengths, skills and talents?
Finally, take an online self assessment to gain further insights into your unique personality traits, skills and abilities.
1. Key questions to identify your strengths
Here's some key questions to ask to when identifying your top 5 strengths. Write down your answers, elaborate in your journal, or try discussing with a trusted friend, colleague or partner. The most important thing is to answer truthfully and trust your instinct - whatever answer you give will be the right one!
What gives you the most satisfaction at your current job?
What are you able to do naturally, quickly or with joy, that other people aren’t able to?
What skills do you need to do those things well?
What have been your most enjoyable work experiences?
What tasks do your co-workers approach you for help with?
If money wasn't an issue, what jobs would you most enjoy doing?
What are your 3 greatest achievements to date?
Ask your friends, colleagues and managers. What do they identify you’re good at?
2. Ask people about your 3 top strengths
Next, find people who know you well. This could be friends, family members, or colleagues. Ask them about your strengths and what they think your strengths are based on your past jobs and current position.
Asking for feedback — especially affirmations! — from people you know can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Begin by explaining what you’re trying to do and how they can help you. It’s okay to admit that it’s hard for you to ask.
Try an opener like this:
Hi NAME, I’m feeling a bit awkward about this, but I would really love your opinion. I’m considering taking a step forward in my career and could use some feedback from someone I trust (you!). I’m trying to understand how I’m perceived by people I respect...
Use words that feel authentic to you. If you’re afraid of how you’ll be perceived, try being honest in your request: I’m not fishing for compliments, but I’m trying to identify my strengths and would love to know what you think my top 3 skills are.
Finally, add something to personalise each email so they know you care about their opinion and aren’t just sending a mass email.
3. Take an Online Self-Assessment
Online Strength Assessment Tools are a useful way to identify and expand on your strengths. There are several self-assessments available that you can take online for a small fee. We have personally used and recommend the following:
Once you know your strengths, you can explore potential career paths that align with your abilities. Knowing your strengths is the first step to creating a path towards a successful career. With stronger strengths, you’ll be able to handle weaknesses more effectively. You’ll also be more focused and less stressed. With the right career path, you’ll be happier and more successful in your career.
Based on your answers above, what do you believe your top 5 strengths are?
As you begin to search and apply for jobs, keep these skills at the forefront of your mind. Mark potential new roles as a Pass or Fail based on the following criteria:
Does this role suit the purpose I have for working?
Does it align with my job-related values?
Does it maximise my top strengths, skills and genuine interests?
Most importantly, always trust your intuition. You will know the right role for you!
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Expert advice to grow your career
Most people fall short in their professional careers because they fail to identify and align with their key strengths. During this session, you will gain crystal clarity on what you value, what makes you unique and what your top 5 strengths are. You'll be amazed by how much you learn about yourself from this one session!
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