The Benefits of Knowing Your Strengths Now, Rather Than Later 

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!

A Simple Activity To Identify Your Strengths & Personal Brand

By Crystal Cory, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

I recently read the book, “The Leader’s Guide to Turbulent Times” by Kris Taylor, which lists two main reasons that we can’t easily identify our strengths:

“The first is that our strengths come so easily and naturally to us, we can’t imagine that the same thing does not happen with others. As such, we tend to underestimate our natural gifts. Secondly, many of us may lack the ability to accurately assess how others see and experience us – and as such, are blind to our strengths.”

When I read this quote, it definitely hit home for me. As I’ve moved through my life, most of the time I think I’m just doing my job or what is asked of me. I’ve struggled to identify what makes me stand out compared to others.

I recently completed a simple activity that helped me understand myself in a whole new way. It can help you explore your personal image. Everyone around you, from your family to friends to neighbors, has an idea of who you are and what you represent. Your professional image, which is what people at work/school think of you, is within that overall personal image. This activity measures either or both, depending on who you ask to complete the activity.

Here are the activity’s steps:

  • Identify people that you trust.
    • The ideal person for this activity is someone who knows you well, is honest with you, and cares about your development as a person. Ideas for these people are those listed above: friends, family, coworkers and supervisors (both past and present), etc.
  • Ask 3-5 of those people if they’re willing to answer three questions for you.
    • Feel free to go into as much detail as you feel necessary when explaining why you’re doing this. Are you measuring your personal image? Are you trying to better understand your strengths? Are you interested in learning how others perceive you? Whatever your motivations are, make them clear to those you’re asking for help.
  • Send them these three questions:
    • What are four words that describe me?
    • What is one positive word that does NOT describe me?
    • What problems am I good at solving?
      • Sending via email is best so they have time to reflect.
  • Compile results and reflect on what you’ve learned.
    • Because I’m that type of person, I put all of the responses in a chart so that I could see all of them easily. Feel free to use whatever method works best for you!

Knowing your strengths and how others perceive you is beneficial for many reasons. You can use this information to boost your self-awareness, identify how you come across to others in positive ways, describe yourself in job interviews, and even think of and share new ideas with your boss.

This activity takes very little effort, and produces some very rich results. Go forth and learn more about yourself and your image! It’ll only benefit your life and career.