Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Discover your natural talent with StrengthsQuest

This week’s blog post is written by Jackie Furbacher, a senior bio-chemistry major at CU-Boulder.

I’m just beginning the second semester of my senior year with the plans to graduate in August. My mom asked me one day last semester, “What are you going to do when you graduate?” I replied, “Get a job.” She then asked, “What kind of job?” to which I answered, “I don’t know. One that pays money.”

Right now, I am at a crossroads; I’m deciding  between going to grad school and entering a health-related field. No matter where I end up, I realize I need to develop interview skills and create an elevator pitch to sell myself to future employers or schools. To start this process, I made an appointment with Alexa at CU Career Services. After listening to me explain my current situation, she recommended I take a personality test. I decided to take the StrengthsQuest test because I figured it would help me find the right words to describe myself to future employers.

The test was really easy. I paid for it at Career Services, and then when it was convenient for me, I took it on my own computer. The entire test took about 30 minutes. Each question gives you two statements and you have to decide with which you most agree. The results were immediate; they rank your top 5 strengths according to certain categories. The results surprised me because they defined my strengths to a T. StrengthsQuest gives you access to tons of information about the different strengths and how they can be used.

My top strength was strategic. Strategic is explained as a skill that “enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large.” I always knew I was good at this, but never really knew where to begin describing this skill to other people. Another strength of mine was learner. Lately, I have come to realize how short my attention span is for a certain topic. I enjoy the process of learning, but I have a constant need for new stimulation and new things to learn.

I look forward to meeting with Alexa again in the next couple weeks to discuss the results and how I can use them in an interview or on a resume to portray myself in the best light. Understanding my strengths will really help me narrow down what type of environment or field I will thrive in. I would recommend this test for anyone whose trying to figure out how to best market themselves to future employers or anyone who just wants to understand a little bit more about themselves.