“Tell me more about yourself” or ‘What are your strengths?’ – both questions we find challenging to answer. And it is amazing how often we are being asked those, not only at a job interview but in our daily life, too.
In this short article, I will give you some examples of how to figure out what you are good at.
When it comes to answering what our strengths are, we feel that if we say what we are good at, we may sound as if we are bragging.
This could be down to few reasons: beliefs and values which won’t allow us to talk about ourselves in a way that ‘sells’ or just that we were never taught how to do it right. Of course, these are just examples. Some people may just not like talking about themselves or it could be an entirely different reason unknown to us.
The good news is that we can learn how to do it the same way as we can learn anything else we want.
Below are 4 ways of identifying what your strengths are:
1. Think about what you do on a daily basis at work (or at home) that gives good results
The easiest way to do this is to just take a piece of paper and a pen and do a quick brainstorming. Just list some of your daily work activities and the skills that you use to complete them.
Every day you communicate with lots of people, therefore you use your interpersonal and communication skills. You write emails so your writing and business reporting skills are utilised well. The examples can be endless. You don’t need to think about anything overcomplicated, but simple things done on a daily basis. I can assure you it is a great start.
If you are currently a stay-at-home parent, then the skills you can consider could be your organisational skills (yes, you use this every day – it is a skill to organise your kid’s routine!), or communication: liaising with professionals like teachers, doctors and other people that you come across as a parent.
The most important thing regardless if you work or look after the family is to consider your transferable skills.
What are ‘transferrable’ skills you may ask? Well, the easiest explanation is skills you can ‘transfer’ from one environment to another. And obviously, utilise in this new environment. This could be your budgeting skills – you do this at home when managing the family budget and these same skills you can successfully use at a job that requires you to manage a small pot of money.
2. What other people say about you
You need to be careful when considering what other people think about you – are they objective?
Think about the people you work with – did they mentioned to you that you are doing great with a specific task? Well, we have a winner then. Maybe your boss congratulated you on the last project that you had done and specified areas you exceeded the expectations.
Or maybe you are well-known for a specific knowledge at work? All of your colleagues come to you to ask you how to do this complicated Excel formula or how to create a ‘rule’ on Outlook. This is your time to shine – use all of these skills and knowledge to your advantage when identifying what you are good at.
You can also consider feedback from friends and family, but be careful if this is something constructive at all. Do not dwell on feedback that is not helpful to you.
3. What projects that you have previously done and what worked for you
I will tell you a secret – we all forget what we’ve done in the past and what skills we used. This is normal. For this reason, I highly recommend that you have a ‘work diary’ where you list tasks/projects you have worked on.
I can honestly say that I don’t remember what I did 2 years ago. But I wrote it down. And now I have my cheat sheet. If you haven’t started doing this, maybe it is worth thinking about. List all of your projects and the learning you got out of completing them.
You will be surprised how many skills you have.
4. Consider what you enjoy doing
Last, but not least – think about what you enjoy doing. I have never heard in my life someone saying that they enjoy doing something that they are not good at. If you know of such a case – please do share in the comments below – I will be excited to learn about this!
If you create a clear list following these 4 points, you will get a much better picture of what you are good at. And I can assure you that you will be really pleased with yourself for all the things you have done and everything you are capable of. Unless we put all of the above on paper, it is difficult to just spontaneously say what our strengths are.
And as with everything else – practice makes it perfect. So practise congratulating yourself on the good things you do and don’t forget to write them down.
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