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Identifying your Interests, Skills, and Strengths

09/16/2020 | Updated 6/9/2023

Personal Interests and Relevant Hobbies

Many people are known for one skill or talent but have more private or hidden hobbies, interests, and skills. Your interests and hobbies may indicate the skills and strengths you can develop. What are 'interests'? Personal interests are activities someone enjoys outside of work, such as playing sports, spending time with family, watching movies, and reading. It's common for an interviewer to ask a candidate about his/her personal interests to learn more about his/her personality and life beyond work. What is a hobby? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "a hobby is an interest or activity engaged in for pleasure." Depending on the job description, you can add relevant hobbies on your resume that would help you stand out as a candidate, such as blogging, volunteering, and video gaming.

Identifying Your Interests

What type of work interests you? If you choose to complete it, your first exercise is to complete an Interest Assessment (5 min) to understand your interest and hobbies, converting them into skills and strengths. This assessment is an exercise worth doing before any interview. An interest assessment can help you identify careers that meet your interests. Interest assessments usually include a series of questions about what you like and don't like to do. Based on your responses, matches your likes and dislikes to careers. When you choose a career that matches your overall interests, you're more likely to enjoy your job. You're also more likely to be successful.

In the table below are some examples of interests and hobbies for a potential career. Note, salaries in the table may vary depending on your location and experience.

What do you want to do? Check out these "10 hottest IT jobs for salary growth in 2023", according to CIO.

Next, Identifying Your Skills

What skills do I like Using and Need? Ask yourself these two questions:

1. What skills do I currently have that I want to use?

2. What skills do I need to learn or develop to do the work I want to do?

Take time to write down your answer to those two questions. You would be surprised how much learning from some of these basic skills will help you succeed.

What is a 'skill'? Good ole Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a skill as "an ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well." Examples of job skills might be: Ability to work under pressure, Analyzing data, Brainstorming, Coaching, Communicating with people, Customer service, Dealing with complaints, Decision making, Public speaking, the list can go on and on. In other words, you can have labor skills (such as an electrician), life skills (such as problem-solving), people skills (such as building relationships of trust and respect), social skills (such as communication with people), soft skills (related to one’s personality, such as communications, social), or hard skills (related to a specific task, teachable abilities like computer programming or using an app on an iPhone).

Are you wondering about your future skills? Here is the second exercise, if you choose to do it, take an online Skillscan - an electronic skill sort assessment for identifying transferable skills you have or want to develop.

Lastly, Identifying Your Strengths

What strengths do I have? After you have assessed your skills, then you can identify your strengths. Strengths are tasks or actions that you can do well. These include talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete work, relate with others, and achieve goals.

Another good exercise worth doing before any interview. Make a list of your skills, dividing them into three categories:

  • Knowledge-based skills: Acquired from education and experience

  • Transferable skills: Your portable skills that you take from job to job

  • Personal traits: Your unique qualities

When it comes time to toot your own horn, you need to be specific.

Some examples of strengths you might mention include 👉

I want to encourage you to write a positive statement that you can say with confidence that includes your interest, skills, and strengths for the position. Also, prepare yourself to answer when asked about your weaknesses to present them in a positive way. Here is an example of a script:

What's Left

In summary, to help identify your interests, skills, and strengths I recommend completing the two exercises I mentioned in this blog. Here they are again (1) completing the interest assessment to understand what type of work interests you, and (2) taking an online Skillscan for identifying your transferable skills for your career and job search. Finally, get a career coach, learn the benefits of having one to help you reach your goal.

Info eNConnect Consulting offers 1-on-1 tech career coaching in which we focus on your professional growth and development. Is it time to get a career coach? Is it time for a new resume or an updated resume? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, book your free 20-minutes IT Career Consultation or choose your resume plan today.

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