How To Recognise Your Talents And Strengths

By David Shindler

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Is this you? “I don’t recognise my value. I’m unclear about my talents, strengths, and achievements to date. I don’t know what I am good at that would interest employers”.

These are common anxieties if you are a new graduate with limited work experience seeking a job. And, yet, even employees with years of service at the same organisation can struggle to see and articulate their abilities and achievements. How can you overcome the blind spots that we all sometimes develop? Why does this matter in the job and career search?

How do you want to feel at work?

Consider the wise words of Strengths expert and author, Marcus Buckingham: “Build on your strengths and manage around your weaknesses for lasting success.”  

You want to be experiencing work when you are at your best, don’t you? What makes you feel good? What can you do well, that’s effortless and you get a buzz from it? You can’t answer these questions if you don’t know your strengths and talents.

Ask yourself ‘how do I want to feel at work?’ before asking ‘what job do I want?’ For example, is it: motivated, confident, creative, independent, involved, stretched, supported, secure, respected, appreciated for you or for what you achieve? You decide. Then take action by:

  • Doing your research on work cultures that fit with your preferences.
  • Putting yourself deliberately in situations and environments where you can use your strengths and talents more of the time.
  • Bringing the best of you to the job search and application process.

You are the author of your own story. Write it each day to pursue your dreams and realise your potential. It’s your choice whether to search for your potential, leverage it or act upon it; or whether you choose to fear what you might be capable of, or remain blissfully and unhappily unaware of your potential.

“People make their biggest contribution when they recognise, value, develop and use their unique talents in support of a cause they believe in.” Clive Wilson

If you prefer doing something, you are more likely to feel fulfilled if you gravitate towards it. If you continually work on improving it, you are more likely to turn an emerging talent into a strength. Point your strengths at a cause that matters to you and it will light the fire under your energy and commitment.

Can you afford not to recognise your talents and strengths?

Every stage of the process of finding and getting a job involves you talking about what you bring to an employer that improves, enhances or maintains the value they provide. Being self-aware is one of the core employability capabilities all employers want from their new hires.

Increasingly, employers are recruiting on strengths because they want to tap into the best of you for the benefit of their business. For example, Nestlé takes this approach:

"Strengths is particularly useful when recruiting individuals who don't have a lot of experience – such as graduates. It allows us to identify potential and individuals who have the same passion about our industry as we do. It also generates fewer fake, pre-prepared answers, and gives a genuine insight into candidates”. Matt Stripe, Nestlé UK & Ireland group HR director

How can you recognise your talents and strengths?

I’ve created a bite-size online course to help you develop greater self-awareness of your talents and strengths. You will recognise what you can do well, what comes naturally to you and love doing, and your emerging potential. And you will find resources on how to approach strengths-based job interviews. It’s one of many multi-media courses you can find in my online school, Career Navigating for Young Professionals.

I’m offering readers of Social-Hire free access to Your Talents and Strengths for a limited time period! Use Coupon Code SocialHire1. It only takes a couple of hours to complete and you get online coaching and mentoring support so you are not alone. Take the guesswork out and reduce your reliance on luck. Subscribe today if you want to kick-start your chances of early job and career success.

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