While we shouldn’t assume other people know what we know, it is also true that we are so close to ourselves that we don’t necessarily understand our work strengths.
It is a legitimate problem. I’ve been in too many social situations where I’ve offered advice — what are your strengths when it comes to work? — and had people say they simply don’t know. They go to work. They get the job done. They like certain tasks and don’t like others.
Weaknesses, of course, are a piece of cake. Everyone knows their weaknesses because hiring managers insist on asking about them. But strengths you bring to the job? Not so much.
Other people have an opinion about what we bring to our work. Part of that is found in annual reviews, but there are so many issues surrounding getting the performance review you deserve, combing through them won’t do it.
Instead, you need to speak with people at work you trust to tell you their perceptions of your strengths.
Here’s what to ask when you speak with these people:
Prepare to be surprised at the answers you get to these questions. There may be attributes you have never thought about before. Write the attributes down.
And then build your strength story around them.
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