Assessing Your Skills

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Discovering your strength and abilities can greatly help you in your career. Not only are you able to effectively demonstrate your competitiveness to your employer, you will also find a more fitting and satisfying job for yourself.

You will receive the most out of your study abroad experience after carefully evaluating the skills that you have acquired through your stay abroad. Here are some steps to help you have a better understanding of what sets you apart from others:

1.  Analyze your personality traits. Personality traits are distinguishing qualities that are the embodiment of an individual’s habitual patterns of behavior, temperament and emotion. Everyone possesses personality traits that are positive and negative. What you must do is focus on personality traits that highlight qualities that will bring you closer to your career goals. Examples of positive personality traits include: honesty, helpfulness, fearlessness, reliability and work ethic. Just do a keyword search online for “personality traits” or “character traits” to discover hundreds of words to choose from. Here are some suggestions to start with:
  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Computer and technology literacy
  • Analytical skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Cultural sensitivity

2.  Reflect on past experiences. Think of past work and study experiences (if you have studied abroad, also consider the skills you have gained living independently in a foreign country). What were some of the highlights from these experiences? What were your favorite activities, events or classes taken? Why were they your favorite? Understanding your previous experiences can help you narrow down your career options by providing insight of your true interests. In this way, you can explore career opportunities that are inline with your passion, personality and skill set.

3. Ask others for their opinion. Talk to your family members, friends or even past employers on what they think are your greatest attributes. Gaining an objective perspective from others will provide valuable insight of your best qualities and skills. Make sure that the people you ask are those you trust most. It can be very exposing to ask others to evaluate your behavior; especially if the person you ask is deceitful. Being in such a vulnerable state can leave you very defensive and unreceptive to advice.

4. Take a personality test. There are many tests you can take to gain a better understanding of your skills and personality type such as the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and the Strong’s Interest Inventory. Both are reputable tests that are used at universities and businesses worldwide to help student and employees better understand their personality, skills, and interests. These test are usually free for most college students through their career center. However, if you have graduated there may be a fee.

Once you have a good understanding of the skill sets you have, you will be much more comfortable with interviews and building your career!

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