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Got skills?

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Got skills?  Then make sure you know what they are and, even more importantly, can articulate them clearly.  If you don't tell an employer what you can offer, they won't know!  Be prepared for the interview question,  "What are your greatest strengths?"  When networking, let others know where you shine. They will be better able to help you if they are aware of your strengths and your accomplishments.   People like to help others who they perceive as competent and successful and will tell others how great you are.  Even relatives and friends who know you socially may not have an understanding of your professional skills but may be able to help you achieve your professional goals.  

Often, one of the first questions that a career coach asks when she sees a student or an alum is "What are your key skills?"  In response to that question,  it's not unusual for a coach to receive a blank look, a reddening face, or the comments, "It's hard to talk about my skills," "I don't want to brag!" or "I haven't thought about that."  So much depends on it, so take some time to reflect on what you have to offer an employer.  Following are four helpful ways for identifying your strengths.  

  1. Reflect on your accomplishments and ask yourself what skills were necessary to get the postitive results you obtained.  
  2. Ask supervisors, co-workers, family and friends, to give you feedback on what they see as some of your skills.  It is human nature to note what others do well, but fail to say so directly.
  3. Review former job or internship evaluations, and, recall verbal feedback that you have received on the job.  
  4. Take advantage of an excellent resource on the CEC's  website to help you identify or confirm your skill sets.  Career Driver, an online interactive self-assessment  will help you identify your natural strengths and transferable skills.  Being able to articulate these is critical for career planning, creating a resume and interviewing effectively.  Afterall, it's your skills and strengths that employers are looking for and are taking into account when making their hiring decision. The assessment takes about 25 minutes to complete and includes a print-out that with an array of career possibilities.

If you are interested in discovering more about yourself, check out the additional self-assessment tools featured on the CEC website "Career Toolkit." Type Focus,  which is also online, helps you understand your personality style and natural temperament for greater self-awareness to make informed career decisions.   There are also resources to identify your interests, values, accomplishments and the people who influence your decision-making.