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Knowing my strengths

What do you think?

Before you get started, think about how you would answer the following questions.

  1. What do your teachers and parents always compliment you on?
  2. Were you ever surprised when you were good at a new game, task or specific assignment? What skills were involved?
  3. What would you say is your greatest skill or ability?
  4. What subject in school do you like best?

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What are your strengths?

You don’t have to be a super hero to have super powers. Everyone has strengths. In fact, knowing your natural talents, skills, abilities and personal accomplishments will bring you one step closer to choosing a major. Many career counselors recommend choosing a major that uses your strengths.

Some strengths make tasks feel almost effortless such as good eye-hand coordination, reasoning skills or understanding information. Other strengths can be developed and improved over time, like learning to budget your money or to solve everyday problems. Skills often require some form of instruction and practice such as desktop publishing or applying geometry. The point is that you can continue to acquire and build your skills throughout your life.

Discover, develop and apply

Some students may not be aware of what strengths they possess and others feel uncomfortable talking about their strengths. Some students may even think that they don’t have any strengths. It is important to begin identifying your strengths, be able to talk about them with others and think about how you might use them in a career. Knowing and working with your strengths will help you to be successful and stay motivated.

Strengths can involve skills, qualities and personal characteristics:

  • Creativity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Kindness
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Math
  • Open mindedness
  • Organization
  • Originality
  • Perseverance
  • Problem solving
  • Reading
  • Social studies
  • Sports
  • Strong work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Writing

How can you identify your strengths?

It is important to know what you enjoy doing, things that you do well, and events or experiences that make you proud and that you feel passionate about.

Sometimes your strengths may be covered up by a disability that is not accommodated. For example, a person may have difficulty spelling and think they can’t write a creative story. Or an individual has difficulty with reading so they think they cannot learn a subject like history. By using technology or accommodations such as spell checker, speech-to-text software or books on CD, students may discover that they actually have strengths in these areas.

Strengths can be formally identified in aptitude tests, IEPs and by consistent course grades. Another way to identify strengths occurs by talking with people who know you well, like your parents, teachers and friends. Lastly, you can learn about your strengths through personal experiences and activities. By participating in extracurricular activities, community organizations and volunteer work, particular strengths can be discovered and further developed. Begin identifying your strengths in the activities section. This information will be helpful in choosing a major and career path.