During the past couple of weeks, I have had many classes and activities highlight the importance of knowing personal strengths and skills. Why is this important anyway?
In class, being able to recognize my strengths and skills has allowed me to map out what career path I want to pursue. As college students, it is normal to feel a lot of pressure as an undecided label constantly reminds you of the large decision ahead of you. We find ourselves asking questions like “Which major will I choose?” and “What career path is the right fit?”. Although these may feel like daunting decisions, there are plenty of hints that can lead you in the right direction. One of the ways you can learn more about yourself and narrow down on what you really want to do is by recognizing what your strengths and skills are. What do you do best? And how can you apply that in today’s world?
Knowing your strengths (and weaknesses) benefits you in your everyday life, especially your well-being. Doing things that you are naturally good at leaves you more fulfilled and satisfied; you also get the chance to enhance your skills. On the other hand, when we recognize our weaknesses, we are able to indicate areas for improvement. Don't feel bad when you do discover your weaknesses—everyone has them. Remember, there is always room for improvement!
According to Gallup, when people apply their strengths daily, they are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life, and six times as likely to agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best.
Still not sure on what your strengths are? Here are some quizzes, tests, and ideas that will help you become more aware of your strengths and skills:
- 16 Personalities: This personality test takes 10 minutes and was adapted from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. While it does focus on your personality type, it also gives you insight into your strengths and weaknesses, other celebrities that have the same personality type as you, and more. And, of course, the test is free!
- VIA Institute on Character: This test takes about 15 minutes to complete. You do need to create an account for it, but it is free! It focuses on 24 character strengths that are ranked in your results, showing your top strengths and biggest weaknesses.
- RichardStep Aptitude Test for Strengths & Weaknesses: This aptitude test can be complete in 10 minutes. It offers small breaks within the test to help you clear your mind and tailor your answers to what suits you the best. It offers your top 5 strengths and your bottom weakness.
- Academic Advising Center: The University of Utah has tests students can take, like the CliftonStrengths Assessment, to find what skills they obtain and inspire them to build upon them.
- Think about it: Sometimes you just have to sit back and think about what you’re good at. What is something that comes easy to you? Is there a specific task you complete particularly well at work? When working with a team of people, is there something that you do that makes you stand out? Think about the last time you ran into a problem. What did you handle well? What did you handle not so well? What patterns do you recognize?
- Ask around: Don't be afraid to do some inquiring! Ask family or friends, “What are my strengths?” Then, see what they have to say and be open minded. If you’re up for it, you could also ask, “What are my weaknesses?”.
Have fun with discovering more about yourself. Now it’s your turn to see if being knowledgeable with your strengths and skills will help promote your wellbeing!