Career Advice

Using Your Strengths

A few years ago, I addressed a group of people on the question of Emotional Maturity, and when it came down to it, we agreed that it could be defined as ability to be aware and take appropriate actions based on that awareness. It’s something I’ve tried to do ever since, and generally it works for me. Well, at least at an emotional level. To be honest, I don’t always get my decision right, but then again, who does? What’s more important is really how you respond next. So I guess maturity is about the way in which you respond to the world out there, by accessing what’s inside.

But how does any of this really work when it comes to dealing with looking for a job, or managing yourself in a career? The simple answer is that it’s probably the single most important thing you can access when it comes to landing a job, but the long answer requires just a tad more explanation. You see, no longer can anyone operate successfully in the world of work if they only bring one part of their complete self to the job. Usually, and very much based on past practices, we used to be okay with people just turning up and demonstrating their practical skills for us. It was easier to manage, and it allowed employers to know exactly what they were paying for. They could also easily discipline people, or performance manage them if they did anything other than demonstrate those skills.

But the truth is jobs and people are more complex than just a set of routine tasks. We’ve moved on so far from those days that even robots are being used to carry out “hands on” practical activities. What we’ve discovered is that jobs require human interaction. I know, I know, it sounds almost ridiculously simple, but understand that in the past employers really tried to dehumanise jobs to avoid having to deal with people’s issues. So, what we have is the reality that jobs and people are necessary elements of the world of work. What we understand now is that success requires that people bring their full and complete self to a job. That means a combination of their skills, their personality and their value system. Allowing people to be authentic and real in a job brings out their true strength and success. All we have to do now is make sure there is good alignment between the person and the job. Again it sounds simple right? After all, isn’t that what employers and recruitment agencies were doing all the time? Well, not really. Most recruitment agencies take the lead from the employer as to how much they assess in a candidate. In fact it goes back a few steps to the job advert itself. Some adverts will only focus on the most essential skills you need to demonstrate. The more intangible elements of the job are seldom explained. Things like the culture of the organisation or the value system the organisation abides by is not always evident in the job advert. I think that’s a huge mistake. If you look at why people are dismissed from jobs, it’s often because they have stepped out of line with the culture of the business, as opposed to simply not being able to do the job.

So, what is it we really need to focus on to make sure we have people performing to their best in jobs. A simple solution is to tell candidates what they need to not only do, but also how they need to behave in the job to be successful. The second part is about what they need to bring as a combination of their personality and value system. That will allow candidates for jobs the chance to match themselves to a job that they can truly fit into and excel at. As a candidate for a job, focus not only on your skills and qualifications, but pay a lot of attention to your natural behaviour. What are you naturally drawn to or good at? Pay attention to your personality and document what it is you like to do. Those natural strengths could just get you the edge over other candidates who are just as qualified or skilled as you in a particular discipline. What it requires from you though is complete awareness of yourself. What it requires is maturity. Knowing what you are good at, and knowing what your weaknesses are. When you face up to that, and work with that, you are managing yourself, and you have a better chance of a successful career.

HOW TO USE YOUR STRENGTHS

  • Look at what a job requires from all levels including skills, personality and values.
  • Be aware of your best skills, your natural personality and your value system.
  • Seek out jobs where the highest alignment of these elements is evident.
  • Demonstrate your strengths in these areas in the job you are in, or looking for.
  • No longer are jobs just about mechanical skills, they require your complete involvement.

Article written by:

John

As a columnist and speaker I have been able to connect with so many interesting people who have experienced wonderful adventures in life. I am fascinated with the limitless power of people and try to reflect my own experiences and thoughts through these pages.

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