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How To Determine Your Strengths

Know Your Own USPs

Leigh Gillatt  •  Careers Advice

How To Determine Your Strengths


When we are in the looking to buy something, we all expect the salesperson to know about what they are trying to sell and know its unique selling points (USPs) that will benefit us.

In what could be said to be a very similar manner, you need to know how to sell yourself to prospective employers – but how exactly?

The key to being able to successfully really sell yourself to a prospective employer, begins with knowing how to identify your strengths; your very own ‘USPs’.

So without further ado lets jump right into how to identify your strengths...

Selling Yourself To Employers

It may not be the most obvious thing that comes to mind when you start to think about how you’re going to conduct a successful job search, but in its simplest form, we essentially all have to ‘sell ourselves’.

If you don’t know, or are unsure about what you have to offer a prospective employer, how will the employer know if you’re right for the role, and come to think of it how will anyone else know either?

To make your next career move as successful as possible, it is important to identify your core work related strengths, what you enjoy doing most and, of course, what you perhaps don’t too.

If you can clearly demonstrate what benefits you can bring to the workplace, the chances of getting the job will significantly increase.

An you yourself will be happier and more successful within the role once employed also. For example think about this scenario you see all the time in the workplace:

You have that one employee who is unstoppable. In fact, they're so productive and skilled at their job that they make everyone else look bad. Then you have that employee who struggles to keep up with deadlines and can’t seem to grasp even the simplest of tasks.

Does this mean that one is smarter or more driven than the other? No not necessarily.

One employee is playing to their strengths, so the work just comes naturally. The other just doesn’t possess those same skills.

Now wouldn’t you want to be the employee playing to their strengths? Of course you would, we all want to feel satisfied in our jobs, we spend a lot of time at work so it’s an important factor to the majority of us.

At Diverse Employment, our recruitment consultants can help you identify what you have to offer, not just in terms of relevant skills, but also your work values, style and preferences.

“It’s your career so let’s focus on what works for you.”

Identifying your strengths will also help to:

  • Highlight what your options are
  • Identify what type of role will suit you
  • Match your skills to specific job opportunities
  • Discover any areas of further development that are required

Your Skills

If anyone ever asks you 'Do you have any transferable skills?' the answer should always be YES!

Even if your skills seem very niche, they are always transferable.

Transferable skills are the skills that you have learnt over time in your current or previous roles that can be brought successfully into a new organisation.

For example, if you were trying to change career from retail sales to electrical engineering; two very different roles with different skill sets. However, that person will have picked up so many transferable skills from retail sales that will be relevant, including people skills, thinking on your feet, dealing well with pressure and customer service to name but a few.

Additionally, it can also be worth considering what you do outside of your normal working day, as you may have developed skills that will help you stand out from the crowd during an employer’s selection process.

If you’re struggling to identify what your core skills are, look back at your experiences so far and ask yourself, ‘what have I done that…

  • …nobody else has done?’
  • …has made a difference?’
  • …I am really proud of?’
  • …I really enjoyed doing and shared with others?’
  • …was a challenge for me and/or a great success?’

If you’re still not quite sure? Try thinking about:

  • What positive things others say about you
  • What work colleagues, friends or family have often said you’re good at
  • What do others often ask you to do or need help with that you seem to find easy (don’t restrict this to work, activities outside are equally important and can add value)
  • The things that colleagues have said about you during appraisals or performance reviews
  • Your hobbies and interests outside of work
  • Your favourite activities or interests and what skills these involve
  • Is there a particular skill that you enjoy using?
  • Have these skills helped you at work, if so how?
  • What would you say you knowingly do better than others?

Your Work Values

When it comes to a new job or career change you need to ensure that it matches the guiding principles and values that are right for you. Think about the:

  • Things that you particularly enjoyed about a previous role(s)
  • Types of organisation or the industry sector in which you previously worked and those, given the opportunity, would like to try
  • Types of people that you have worked with
  • Values that really matter to you (e.g. trust, work involving a challenge, job security and close teamwork)?
  • Things that motivate you within your role
  • And what inspires and drives you to succeed.

Once you have identified your own work values, you will be better placed to make an informed decision about whether the job you have found is right for you in the long-term.

Your Work Style

How do you like to work, how flexible are you and on a typical week, how much energy do you bring to your time at work?

Once you understand what your work style is, you can then focus on targeting specific industry sectors or organisations that will suit you as an individual. Then you will able to sell yourself more successfully.

Here are some questions to ask yourself, and others, that will help identify your work style:

  • How do you like to work with others?
  • What role do you normally take within a team?
  • Are you targeting the same job level or are you looking for the challenge of a more senior role?
  • How do you handle pressure and deadlines whilst working as part of a team?
  • How do you like to be managed? (This is a very important question. How do you handle being micro-managed?)
  • If you have the responsibility of managing others, what’s your management style?
  • When working on a particularly difficult task or project, do you prefer to do this on your own without ‘spectators’ or do you prefer to talk it through with others in your team?
  • How organised are you at home and at work?
  • Do you prefer working in a detailed environment or is a minimal brief enough for you to perform your tasks?
  • What kinds of things make you more productive?
  • When it comes to problem solving or generating ideas, how do you proceed?

Never be ashamed of the way you like to work, just because it may be different to others’ it is not necessarily wrong. Remember there is a role out there for everyone, if you are willing to work hard and realise your worth, you will succeed.

As specialists in recruitment we always aim to match the best person to every role, taking into account all of the factors discussed above. Contact your local Diverse Employment office today to discover not only what you have to offer, but also what we have to offer you.