Career Change Advice, Use Personal Strengths

Learn the critical role your personal strengths play in career success.

When planning your career development or changing career, start with a self assessment of your personal strengths.

Every highly functioning adult has a wide range of competencies. However, each person excels at only a few skills and abilities. Fortunately, everyone does excel at some things. The best career development or career change advice is to identify your personal strengths and make career change decisions based on maximizing your opportunity to highly leverage your own strengths.

Personal Strengths

Studies show that people are most productive, most creative, and happiest when utilizing their top personal strengths in their careers (Average to A+, CAPP Press, Coventry England).

You’ve probably already realized that you really love to do some tasks. If you’re fortunate, these tasks are a significant part of your job or career. If they’re not, then it’s time to think of ways to change your work or change your workplace.

Many corporate performance review and improvement programs focus on identifying personal weaknesses and setting improvement goals. It seems intuitive that people can perform better if their weakest areas are improved. Though this  seems intuitive, it is not necessarily true.Though a person can learn to improve areas of weakness, studies indicate they are unlikely to reach a high performing level in areas of natural weakness. Strong career growth depends on high performance. High performance results from using personal strengths.

Identifying Your Personal Strengths

Because your unique personal strengths are such a fundamental part of your being, they may not stand out in your mind as anything that everyone can’t also do. The truth is, they can’t. By definition, your personal strengths—often called signature strengths—are special abilities that have been with you since childhood and have enabled you to excel at certain tasks.

  • If you do have insight into your special personal strengths, make a brief list of them now. The list should be short, five to ten at the most. Reflect on your list, recalling when you used these strengths to accomplish excellent results. Recall how you felt.

Most people won’t feel certain they’ve identified their own personal strengths. In that case, or just to confirm the list if you did generate one, take the next two steps.

  • Ask someone who knows you very well to describe the special abilities they see in you. They may even count on you to help in certain situations that require use of these abilities which are your personal strengths.
  • In addition, take a few minutes to fill out the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire, a positive psychology research project at the University of Pennsylvania.

Career Advice

Maximize your opportunity for career success by incorporating your personal strengths as completely as possible in your work. Whether this can be accomplished in your current career or requires a career change, strive for the ideal situation when you’re able to utilize your strengths in all or nearly all of your work responsibilities. You’ll be most creative, most productive, happiest, and will enjoy career success.


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