Seven ways to discover your strengths

Making a strong case in an application and at interview partially depends on knowing your strengths and being able to articulate them in writing and verbally.

Some people experience difficulty identifying the strengths they use in the workplace. This may stem from self-sabotaging beliefs ( e.g. I don’t have any), from assuming anyone can do what they do, or from being so familiar with what they do that they don’t recognise what it takes do what they do.

So how do you discover your strengths? Here’s seven ways:

  1. Performance appraisals: During discussions with your manager about your work performance, ask for feedback on your strengths. Obtain their view on what you do well, what you can be relied on to do, what you are recognised for.
  2. Informal feedback: listen for comments colleagues, clients, managers make that let you know what you do well.
  3. Ask: ask credible colleagues, clients and managers what you do well. What skills, knowledge, qualities do they most associate with you?
  4. Think about what comes easily: Regardless of the context (work, family, community, study) there will be some things that come easily to you. You don’t have to give them much thought and you know you will deliver a quality result. What are they?
  5. What do you enjoy doing? What gives you satisfaction? The answer to this may not be the same as what comes easily.
  6. Read about strengths: Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
  7. Complete the VIA Strengths questionnaire at This tool is based on 24 character strengths and identifies your highest personal strengths or what is called Signature Strengths.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.