There's a point in life when you want to know what you're really good at. Maybe you want a new career, or maybe you want to answer that question in a job interview.
Either way, here's a list of 17 skills you can use to figure out what you're good at.
Examples of skills and strengths:
- Communication: how good are you at passing your message?
- Social skills: are you good at making friends and having people like you?
- Creativity: do you have great ideas?
- Persuasion: can you influence people?
- Time management: how good are you at planning your available time?
- Leadership: do people look up to you? Are you able to guide people?
- Artistic ability: can you draw, paint, or mold?
- Critical Thinking: can you judge facts correctly?
- Adaptability: can you adapt to fast-changing environments and circumstances?
- Empathy: do you understand other people's emotions and facial expressions?
- Logic: can you derive correct facts from rules?
- Strength: do you have physical strength or stamina?
- Integrity: are you trustworthy?
- Discipline: do you have grit and perseverance?
- Organization: are you good at planning and structuring things?
- Decision making: can you make good decisions?
- Negotiating: can you reach agreements that are advantageous to you?
How to find your own skills and strengths:
What are your skills?
There are two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are teachable and you can easily measure your progress in them. A good example is knowing how to use Excel or learning how to operate a cash register.
Soft skills are innate traits we have that make us good at some things. Those could be social skills, creativity, good memory, attention to detail, or discipline.
Make a list of your hard and soft skills by looking back on your life and identifying those moments where your unique abilities let you shine.
You can use the list at the top to help you compile your list of skills.
How to identify your skills
Nearly everybody has something they're better at than other people. No, this is not one of those "everybody is special" statements.
Look back on your life and make a list of those things that set you apart from others. What are the things that made you special? The things that made people say "wow". What have you excelled at in your career?
What were you good at school?
Even people who had poor grades in school had a favorite class where they did better than expected.
What classes did you excel in? Maybe it was Spanish, or maybe it was computer science. Maybe you had a liking to history or mathematics. Make that list and keep going.
What do people compliment you on?
When you're good at something, you will get compliments from other people. Looking back on your life, what are the things people most often praise about you?
Is it your artistic ability? Your math skills? Are you a human calculator? Maybe you have a good fashion sense.
Either way, keep making your list bigger. We will analyze it later on.
What are your passions?
People say that skills are more important than passions. "Passion doesn't pay the bills" they say. And they're not wrong.
Some have life goals they're passionate about but will never get them anywhere. Those goals and dreams won't pay them for their effort.
But identifying your passions can often help you understand what you're good at. Make a list of the things you are truly passionate about.
These should be the things that you would work on, even if you don't get paid to do them. It could be a hobby or a childhood dream of yours, like being a singer.
Those passions will often hide things you are truly good at. Add those things to the list of your skills and keep going.
Ask your family and friends
Ask around: "what do you think I'm good at?".
People who know you for a long time know you very well. Ask your friends, family, people at work. You can even ask your boss if you want to.
You'll be surprised by the answers. We are often blind to ourselves and require external feedback to help us understand reality.
What are your hobbies?
You might not be paid to do woodwork, but if you do it as a hobby, there's a reason for it: you're probably good at it.
If you write a blog, you might be good at communication and writing. If you like to solve sudokus, you might have good mathematical skills.
When we engage in a hobby, we often do it to express our abilities. Add those skills to your list of skills and keep going.
Take a personality/assessment test
Assessment tests are tests you can take to understand more about your personality and your cognitive skills. Things like your verbal intelligence, abstract thinking ability, or logical thinking.
Taking those tests can help you understand what you're good at. If you know you're better with abstract thinking, then maybe you should get an engineering job?
Here are some examples of assessment tests:
- Strengths assessment: CliftonStrengths, VIA survey
- Personality: Myers-Briggs, DISC assessment, Big 5
- Intelligence: Raven's Progressive Matrices, StanfordBinet Intelligence Scales
Categorize your skills and strengths
Now that you have a master list of skills and strengths, it's time to put them into categories.
Do you see the patterns? Is there any category of skills and strengths that dominates your list? That might be the thing you're truly good at.
Choose a career based on your strengths
How often do we spend our lives fighting our weaknesses rather than focusing on our strengths?
Once you know what you're good at, you can shift your career towards an area you excel in rather than having a disappointing career that won't ever get you anywhere.
Mention your skills on your resume and job interviews
When you have a good idea of your skills, mention them not only on your resume but also when taking part in job interviews.
However, instead of blindly copy-pasting your list of strengths into your resume, adapt that list towards the needs of the companies you're applying for.
The more targeted your resume and the answers in the job interview, the more likely you are to get the job.