10 Ways to Identify Your Strengths, Talents and Skills


One of the first steps my clients take during a job search or career change is to do a self-assessment.  During that assessment they make a list of their strengths, skills, and talents.  Everyone has these attributes.  It takes some thought to identify them, but it is worth the effort. 

Some of your strengths, skills and talents contributed to your job success in your previous or current work situation.  Identifying your strengths, skills and talents and matching them to the requirements of a new job description will be part of the work you need to do in your job search or career change.  Here is a list of 10 methods for identifying your strengths, skills and talents. 

  1. Make a list of the qualities you have.  What do others comment on that you know have contributed to your job success.  Think about your job, your volunteer work, and your family life.  What is it that people notice about you and compliment you on?  For example, perhaps you have such an amazing network of business acquaintances so that colleagues and friends always come to you when they need a contact for some specific task. 
  2. What do you excel at?  Think about your work and home life. What is so easy for you to do that you can do it effortlessly?  It is probably something you enjoy and doesn’t feel like work.  You may even have the feeling everyone can do this easily because you can. This can be hard for you to identify but ask friends or peers to help you.   
  3. What do others come to you for?  Is there a topic or skill that you have for which others consider you the expert?  Perhaps you are the social networking guru on your team.  Maybe you are a really patient instructor and willing help members of your team.
  4. What hobbies, sports, or other activities are you passionate about?  What do you do in your spare time?  You choose these activities because you enjoy them.  Think about what skills, strengths and talents you use in those pastimes that have helped you gain job success.
  5. What activities do want to do continuously?  These are activities that you become so engaged in that you lose track of time.  It is difficult to stop doing these activities and you do them whether you are paid to do them or not.  When you are engaged in these activities you feel like you are “in the zone”.
  6. What activities have you taken the initiative to learn on your own?  When you are doing these activities you feel compelled to learn more and move as quickly as you can.  You climb the learning curve without tiring. 
  7. Review any past performance evaluations.  Is there some consensus among your various managers about your strengths?  Look for activities that you performed well and that your managers often site as your added value to the team.  Look for strengths mentioned that helped you to achieve job success.
  8. What skills did you display as a child that you may or may not still use?  If you discover a forgotten skill, this might be an area for growth.  If you have carried a skill from childhood to adulthood, this probably is a skill you will want to continue using.
  9. Try this exercise to uncover new strengths. Select 5 friends and/or work colleagues.  Ask them to identify 5 strengths, talents or skills that they see in you.  This can be an enormously validating exercise.
  10. Use assessments.  VIA Survey of Character Strengths is free on this website https://www.viacharacter.org/ and can help you to identify your strengths.

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