Career Icebreaker: Discovering Your Natural Talents and Abilities
by Hallie Crawford, Career Coach, CPCC
Are you looking to make a career change or break into a new field? Are you dissatisfied with your current profession but not sure what your next career move should be? Before you make a major shift in your career, it’s a good idea to take some time out for self-exploration. When was the last time you took stock of your personal strengths? Career coaching can help you uncover the hidden talents and abilities that, once discovered, can start you on the path to a job you’ve always dreamed of having!
Try the following brainstorm exercise, meant to help you pull out the best parts of your professional personality. All you need is a pen and paper or your computer, and some quiet time to do some reflecting. There are no right or wrong answers here. Just be honest with yourself. When we’re reasonable about what we can achieve, we’re better matched to a future position, one that satisfies us because we are inclined to perform that particular role and do it well.
1. As a child, what types of leisure activities did you enjoy most?
(Were you handy with tools? Good at making crafts? Did you write stories, enjoy brain teasers? What about sports or outdoor exploration? Were you a budding entrepreneur, with lemonade stands, a paper route, or other lucrative childhood pursuits? What about science projects or caring for, spending time with pets?)
2. When asked to volunteer for a group project, whether it’s on the job, with your church, school, or other organization, in which areas do you typically offer your assistance?
3. Which electives did you sign up to take in high school, college, or other training school? Out of those, which classes stand out in your mind as being the easiest and most enjoyable for you? Which ones did you get the best grades in, and for what types of assignments or projects?
4. What about extracurricular activities at your high school or college?
(To which groups did you belong, and in what areas did you offer your contributions? Were you on the school paper or yearbook committee? Did you enjoy building stage sets for the theater group or work as a deejay for your school radio program? Were you a sports team member or assistant coach? Part of the computer or math club?)
5. Think back to all the memorable moments in your life where you were congratulated or thanked profusely for your efforts. What did you do at that time to warrant recognition? If you can think back to notes of thanks, testimonials or other expressions of appreciation, what did people have to say about your best qualities?
6. When asked to write out performance reviews for your job, which areas of proficiency did you most excel at, and in what ways? Take some time to explain these, citing examples of moments where you exhibited stellar performance on the job.
When you’re finished writing out the answers to the above questions, go back and give your answers a re-read. What personal attributes can you see popping up repeatedly over the course of your life? Can you think of different types of jobs where you’d be able to best utilize these skills and personal strengths?
Congratulations! You have just taken the first necessary step to uncovering your career skillset. Now try your hand at writing your resume. If you have additional questions or want to take the next step in uncovering a career that fits for you, review the career coaching and career teleclasses pages on my website HallieCrawford.com for more information.
Copyright 2006 Hallie Crawford. All rights reserved.