Knowing your strengths and how to communicate them is extremely important in moving your career forward. You must be able to confidently speak to your unique value on paper and in person if you want to stand out from the competition. However, this happens to be one of those areas where many professionals struggle. Without heightened awareness and confidence around your strengths, you may find yourself stuck. If you know what you want to do in your next move, but can’t seem to move forward, you’ll want to start by focusing on your strengths. Here’s how.
Why You’re Getting Stuck
I recently worked with a client who was stuck. She had a sense of what she wanted as her next career step but she was not moving forward in her job search. If you’re not sure about what to do in your next move, check out this guide to finding career fulfillment. She kept doing the same things over and over and not moving out of the loop. She would see postings online that sounded interesting and apply with standard cover letters and resume. She would wait for a response, but nothing happened. She thought she was doing what she was supposed to. She felt that her documents reflected her interests and qualifications but she was getting discouraged and started losing self-confidence. If you’re facing a discouraging job search, try our favorite ways to restore hope.
What You Need to Know to Get “Unstuck”
Knowing that my client was losing confidence as a result of a discouraging job search, I gave her a strengths assessment as a starting point. I wanted to help her focus her search and in order to do that, I needed to learn the following:
- What energized her
- Where she excelled
- What she enjoyed.
Not only did I learn all of this but we were also able to isolate the points that were holding her back. Her biggest challenge was a lack of awareness about her own strengths and therefore, low self-confidence. Once she was able to find answers to these three questions, she immediately changed her mindset and shifted her approach.
Why Leveraging Strengths Creates Career Wins
As an Assessments Coach, I have a number of different ways to help my clients reach these breakthroughs. StrengthsFinder is one of my favorite tools for focusing on client strengths especially when my clients are feeling stuck and losing confidence. In the case of this particular client, I needed her to start believing in herself more. I needed for her to recognize her natural talents and to own them. I needed for her to start moving forward with more intention and with a new mindset. If these are areas where you’re feeling “off,” strengths is the place you’ll want to focus.
How StrengthsFinder Works
The StrengthsFinder looks at a person’s top 5 (out of 34) natural talents. All 34 talents are divided into 4 categories:
- Executing – How you get things done
- Influencing – How you get buy-in
- Relationship Building – How you connect with people
- Thinking – How you feed your brain
Learning about the 5 natural talents instantly gives you a jolt of self-confidence. You have that “oh yeah – I am good at those things” feeling that reminds you of previous successes and moments in which you were energized, productive and fulfilled. We lose that feeling when we are stuck and things don’t go our way for long periods of time. We need something to pull us out of the loop and remind us of who we are and what we are good at. The StrengthsFinder does just that.
The Power of a Renewed Strengths Mindset
Once my client was unstuck and clear on her strengths, I asked her to find a position that was a match for her skills, background, and interests. Instead of applying with the standard cover letter she had been using, she was able to produce a letter beautifully through the lens of her strengths. Her realization of her unique combination of natural talents helped her find language to articulate her strengths in the new cover letter.
Examples of Renewed Strengths and Mindset in Action
The position was asking for someone who was good at relationship building and had very strong attention to detail. Instead of simply saying, “I am a good relationship builder” and “I am detail oriented” (like many do), my client wrote how she builds relationships through her strengths.
For example, one of her strengths was Learner. As a naturally curious person, she is able to develop relationships with people through this strength. Her questions to others are not only authentic but the recipient of her questions feels that someone is genuinely interested in learning about them. This is a quality that is remembered by all but is not one that is shared by all. And not everyone has that unique ability to express interest in another by asking the right questions to get someone’s story.
Another example of one of her strengths is Responsibility. Those with this strength are highly dependable, have great follow through and will not let you down. She was easily able to explain how she has used this strength in previous roles. She wrote about her work ethic and her innate need to deliver and produce the highest quality work. She wrote about being in tune to her professional responsibilities and recognition by others for her ability to isolate details and deliver.
Through simple awareness of strengths and having this new lens and language, my client was able to master the art of impactful storytelling without boasting. She achieved this by showing examples rather than the listing cliché skills.
Translating Strengths Across All Your Career Interactions
My client’s 5 strengths gave her confidence and language to present herself not only through her paper documents but also through her interactions. She has been able to integrate this new awareness into her elevator pitch and LinkedIn profile. She also now has the tools and ability to go into any interview and confidently present herself through her unique combination of strengths.
Most importantly, she is more focused on what she wants and knows what she needs to do to successfully move towards that goal through every part of the job search process.