By Megan Randall, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach
When I was in college, I barely thought about or talked about my strengths. While I vaguely knew I was good at certain things, I avoided exploring and articulating my strengths. I feared I might sound like I was bragging or somehow implying I was better than others if I did. Sadly, I let this fear get the best of me for a long time. It wasn’t until long after I had graduated that I learned that the ability to name, claim, and aim your strengths is an essential skill to thrive in today’s workforce.
To empower you to avoid making the same mistakes I did, here are three reasons why it’s beneficial to start focusing on your own strengths NOW, rather than later:
1- Knowing your strengths will help you identify opportunities that would be a good fit for you. One of the best ways to determine the next steps in your career journey is to first understand who you are, which includes reflecting on your strengths. The better you know your natural talents, the more you can draw from them to search for and identify opportunities that will give you the chance to do what you do best every day, so you can then turn your raw talents into matured strengths and live up to your full potential.
2- Knowing how to identify and articulate your strengths will help you stand out to employers. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Career Management is one of the top 8 career readiness competencies employers want students to develop by the time they graduate (NACE 2019). Specifically, Career Management is the ability to “identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals and identify areas necessary for professional growth” (NACE 2019). By learning how to showcase your strengths in a resume, cover letter, interview, and even a personal statement, you will demonstrate your value to recruiters and show them that you are career-ready.
3- Applying your greatest strengths will improve your overall quality of life and help you succeed. According to Gallup, the organization that administers the best-selling CliftonStrengths for Students assessment, “People who focus on using their strengths are three TIMES as likely to report having an excellent quality of life” and “are six TIMES as likely to be engaged in their jobs” (Gallup 2020). So the sooner you start identifying, reflecting on, and growing your strengths, the sooner you can experience these rewards for yourself.
If you aren’t sure where to start with your strengths, register for our upcoming FREE Virtual Discover Your Strengths Workshop – offered once a semester – to take the best-selling CliftonStrengths for Students Top 5 assessment at no cost, and delve into your strengths with Certified CliftonStrengths Coaches. Alternatively, you can take the assessment for $11.99 online anytime then meet with a Career Coach to debrief your results. Remember – it’s never too early to explore your strengths and start reaping these many benefits!