Career Success. Putting Your Strengths to Work: A Self-Assessment Guide

Career Success. Putting Your Strengths to Work. A Self-Assessment Guide. Mug in a hand with message I am the hero of my own life with sunflower in the mug

“Know thyself”. Viewed by many as the founding figure of Western philosophy, Socrates (469-399 B.C.) said this a very long time ago. The Greek philosopher knew that without self-awareness, and without the ability to assess one’s knowledge, skills, and talents, people can easily flounder in their careers. This ancient mantra is as true as ever today, and can be pivotal when thinking about our desired career success.

We all have strengths, whether it’s being a great leader or an exceptional team player. These strengths can help you excel in your life and career. However, many people put more emphasis on their weaknesses and forget or overlook their strengths. That’s why it’s important to take some time, to really ponder: What skills do you have that will help you progress in your career? How can you develop these skills and maximise them to benefit your future career success?

In this post, we’re going to look at why it’s important to assess your career skills and talents. In my next post, I’ll share some thoughts on how you can carry out that assessment for career growth.

3 Reasons Why It’s Important to Assess Your Career Skills and Talents

There are three key reasons why it’s important to assess your career skills and talents:

1. You’ll be happier at work

If you’re like most people, you have a handful of strengths. These are the things you do best and make you feel good about yourself. Typically, we’re good at the things we enjoy doing and we get a sense of achievement from doing things we’re good at.

In a survey of more than 5,000 people, Gallup found that employees who use their strengths at work are six times more engaged in their jobs. And the more they use these strengths, the more likely they are to be engaged. By assessing your career skills and talents you can generally focus on developing your career in a way that will lead to long-term satisfaction and career success. You’ll also come to realize that you don’t need to be a master at everything, just a master at a few things.

2. You will be better placed to influence decision-makers and create new development opportunities

It is important that you identify and appreciate what you consider to be your skills, abilities and personal qualities. Only when you do this can you then confidently communicate these and demonstrate them in career conversations so that you can get new challenges and opportunities.  Being able to communicate your work experience and knowledge to a manager and also match their requirements is vital for career development and progression. By using a little time and effort to assess yourself it will be easier later for you to match and demonstrate your abilities to the needs of managers.

Let me give you an example:

One of my clients worked for the NHS and her post was going away as part of a restructure.  She wanted to develop a clearer understanding of her knowledge and skills so she could create an opportunity that was right for her and evaluate any opportunities offered to her. 

She was a lovely lady, full of energy and spark and a real talker.  With three young children and worked part-time as a project manager.

It quickly became clear that, despite being obviously intelligent, capable and very talented, she didn’t recognise that. The way she put it was “I feel like a china dog.  Very nice.  But what’s it for?”

So, we spent several sessions working to build up a picture of her strengths.  Her skills were around project management, taking ideas from initiation to completion and developing innovative approaches and solutions.  In particular, she was brilliant at making connections and joining up the best practice that existed in different areas. 

Once we found a way of her being able to articulate that in a couple of sentences, she took every opportunity to communicate to the people she met and worked with.  She was then offered a role as a Network Delivery Manager for Strategic Clinical Networks – a perfect fit for her strengths and aligned perfectly with her newfound vision of career success.

3. You will be able to use your strengths and build on them, while simultaneously seeking out new challenges that stretch you beyond your comfort zone.

Strengths are not just about your job performance; they’re also about how you approach life in general. When we think of our strengths, we often think of them as something that is innate or fixed. Something we can’t change or improve upon. But the reality is that strengths are very malleable and flexible. They can be developed and honed over time through deliberate practice and effort.

An added advantage of assessing yourself is that you will be able to identify your weaknesses, and thereby plan to improve and upgrade them so you continue to build your skill sets.

The key to success in your career is to find your strengths and play to them. In my next post I’ll look at how to carry out that assessment. In the meantime, why not check out our Career Compass Workbook. Which will help you start the journey of reflecting on your skills and your career.

‘Identifying Your Career Skills and Talents’ is one of the topics we cover in our Career Lab Series.  Find out more at

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