Discover Your Personal Strengths

online college professor - Ashford University

Have you sometimes wondered why some things are so easy for you while others are much more difficult? Do you wonder why some kinds of jobs appeal to you while others don’t? Why some people are successful while others are not?

You may have heard of Gallup, which is best known for its public opinion polls. Gallup is also a driving force in the field of strengths development. Donald Clifton, former chairman of Gallup asked one simple question: “What would happen if we studied what is right with people?”

Gallup conducted a systematic study, interviewing more than two million people in a variety of professions about their strengths. These individuals were the “best of the best” in their respective professions. From this research Gallup developed an instrument to identify one’s top five talents. This instrument is called the Clifton StrengthsFinder. It will help you identify your top five talent themes that enable you to do certain things better than others. How would this help you?

StrengthsFinder was developed over three decades of studying talent and success. Over the last four decades the Gallup Organization has studied the “best of the best” in all aspects of vocation and they have found these common themes:

  • Top achievers fully recognize their talents and develop them into strengths.
  • Top achievers apply their strengths in roles that suit them.
  • Top achievers invent ways to apply their strengths in order to achieve.

One of the things Gallup learned was that if we identify our talents and develop them, we have the potential to grow exponentially. When we try to improve our weaknesses, the most we can hope for is to be average in that area.

How does this apply to your career planning? When you are aware of your strengths you can:

  • Identify areas that would be good career choices. Is this job one which will allow you to use your strengths? Is it an environment where your will thrive?
  • Describe your strengths in a resume. Using the job description you will have a language to describe how you can perform the activities required and how you have used your strengths in the past to accomplish goals. You will be able to paint a picture of who you are and what you can do.
  • Have the language to describe your strengths in an interview. When an interviewer asks you to “tell me about yourself,” you will have a language to adequately describe yourself. Instead of saying “I’m good with people.” You can say, “I have the ability to sense what people are feeling and articulate it,” and “I have the ability to help people reach consensus.”

In this tough economy and job market, it is more important than ever to “Discover Your Strengths.”

Written By: Carol Vaughan
Carol brings with her a rich history of working in education and professional coaching where she has taught at high school, led study abroad trips, and advised students at Mesa Community College. Most recently, she worked in Ashford University’s Career Services department, providing career counseling to students and alumni while also offering the Gallup Strengths Finders assessment as a professional development tool. Carol has extensive experience in coaching and facilitating groups within education and also the community regarding the Gallup Strengths. Her background in education and event planning ensures her position-building programs that help students and alumni to connect, reconnect, and build strong ties to each other and Ashford University.

Resources:
Gallup Doing What You Do Best A Strengths-Based Career Development Guide for High School and College Student
Career Activities, The Gallup Organization
StrengthQuest by Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. and Edward “Chip” Anderson, PhD.
Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, PhD.

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