The Ultimate Guide to Using Your Strengths to Get Hired
Part I: What Are Strengths?
When you hear the word “strengths,” you probably think you have a pretty good idea of what a strength is — even if you’re not 100 percent clear on what yours are!
After all, we’re a culture that loves to dissect and analyze, whether it’s on your 9th grade English report card, or by the ESPN analysts the day after the big game.
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When we talk about “strengths” here at Happen to Your Career, we’re referring to a very specific subset of your personality and character.
It isn’t just things you’re good at, or things you’ve been praised for
— although that’s part of the equation. Instead, we see it as the intersection of two things:
Your strengths: what you can truly be great at — maybe even the best in the world if you spent the time and energy developing them!
Your passions: what you enjoy and love.
Then add in your skills, experiences, knowledge and predispositions… and voila! You’ve got YOUR “signature strengths.”
Signature strengths go beyond skills like “I’m good at woodworking,” or “I’m really good at grammar.”
Those might be clues to finding your signature strengths, but being a good speller is just the tip of the iceberg. These are the qualities that make you uniquely you, and once developed and truly mastered they allow you to literally change your life and your career.
Now I typically hear two responses when I introduce the idea of “signature strengths:”
1. “I’m not sure I have signature strengths!” With over 7 billion people in the world you might be thinking, “Yeah Scott, I don’t have any of those things I can be best at.”
2. “I’m good at a lot of things, but how can I narrow it down?! Where do I even start?”
First, let’s debunk the idea that you don’t have any signature strengths.
After working with hundreds of clients and becoming a student of strengths for over 10 years, I can confidently tell you that there is NO ONE on the face of the planet who does not have signature strengths. It’s impossible!
Instead, if you’re thinking you really don’t have anything you’re “great” at, what that tells me is that you either haven’t spent the time and energy to understand your strengths OR (more commonly) you’re going about it the wrong way.
In either of these scenarios investing in developing those strengths becomes impossible if you don’t really know they are (Thank you captain obvious)
I don’t want you to feel bad, though!
Being unsure what your signature strengths is normal.
Sometimes it’s a result of the structure of our education system. Or maybe it’s because you haven’t been in environments in which you could explore and develop your passions and interest. Or maybe you just haven’t asked the right questions.
Whatever the root cause, the good news is that you can change your trajectory today… and we’re going to show you how in the upcoming sections of this guide.
Take a deep breath… we’ve got you covered!
Now, if you are one of those “overachievers” who says, “I just have so many things I do well,” you have the opposite problem! It likely is that you’re confusing “skills” with “signature strengths.”
When a client comes to me and says, “I really am good at a lot of things,” I know they’re probably pretty smart, pretty capable, and probably a pretty successful people-pleaser. As a result, they may also be pretty clueless with regard to what they really ENJOY.
For instance, just because you’re really good at unjamming the copier when it gets a paper jam doesn’t mean that you should make that into your life’s work.
With you, I’m going to ask you to set aside all the expectations others have for you about what you “should” be doing or what you’ve always done, and instead view the future as wide open. Pretend you are a blank slate and every possibility is open to you — because it is!
Now that we’ve addressed those two burning questions, let’s move on and start figuring out what your personal signature strengths are.