Recognise your strengths

Find out how to identify your strengths and use this in your career planning.

Strengths are the skills you have that you actively enjoy using and are naturally good at. 

The difference between skills and strengths is that we usually feel energised when we use our strengths. Consider the things you are involved in where the time has flown by because you were so absorbed in what you were doing – that’s probably because you were using one or more of your strengths. 

Equally, you might have a strength that you aren’t fully competent in, but that you want to develop - something you really enjoy doing but know you could do better.  

Being able to categorise your strengths can help you to define more clearly how you like to work. This can help you make career decisions.  Be proud of what you are good at, identify the things you need to work on, and appreciate others for how their strengths could complement yours.  

Many recruiters use strength-based recruitment practices, and assessing your own strengths will help you to talk about them both on paper and in person. 

How to identify your strengths 

Ask for feedback from those around you on what they think your strengths are and what they value in you.  

Try this assessment where you are asked to assign each of 50 work-related attributes (for example time management and negotiation) to a category (important or unimportant, whether or not you enjoy it, and how good you are at it). The report summarises your strengths, necessary skills, weaknesses, untapped strengths and underdeveloped skills. 

Career assessment - Strengths      (University of Edinburgh login required)