Career Advancement, Job Search

One powerful way to figure out what you’re good at

Photo credit: Bartek Zyczynski, Shutterstock

Photo credit: Bartek Zyczynski, Shutterstock

If you’re trying to find a job or move your career forward, it’s always a good idea to reflect on your interests, accomplishments, and strengths. However, all too often, we reflect alone. What would happen if we started asking others for their input on what we’re good at?

Over on Popforms—a software company that helps managers and their staff set goals and work together better—Kate Matsudaira argues that other people see our strengths very differently than we do.

Have you ever overheard a friend or relative describing you to someone else? Or maybe a manager has nonchalantly mentioned something that’s not a strength of yours — only you thought it was one of the biggest things you were bringing to the table?

We tend to be really surprised when we learn how other people see us. And while it can be surprising when people’s image of us doesn’t align with our image of ourselves, this is really valuable information that shouldn’t be shrugged off just because you don’t agree with it.

Rather than dismissing these insights, we should explore them so we refine and refocus our job search and careers. Here’s how:

Send an email asking for insights into your strengths. Send it to one friend or peer this week. And try it again with someone new next week! And again!

Here’s a sample template you can use for this email:

Hi _______,

I am working on improving myself, personally and at work, and you are someone whose opinion I truly value. If you are willing, I would be so appreciative if you would answer some or all of the questions below to help me gain some insight into my strengths and the things I do best.

I really appreciate it, and would be happy to do the same for you if you’d like! :)

: What do you think is my greatest strength?

: How would you describe my style?

: What do you think I should let go of?

: When do you feel that I am at my best?

: What do you wish I were less of, for my sake?

: When have you seen me looking my most fabulous?

: What do you think I could give myself more credit for or celebrate more?

Thanks again,

Read the rest of Kate’s advice on Popforms.

Have you ever reached out formally to friends, family, or coworkers for their insights on your strengths? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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