Career Advice

Self-Assessment as Part of the Job Search Process

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The job search process begins with an honest and thorough search of yourself:

  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • In what situations and environments did you excel?
  • What challenges have you overcome, and how?
  • What motivates you?
  • What do you want to be doing with your career?
  • What kind of job or position are you willing to accept?

Only when you have a clear understanding of the kind of environment you thrive in, what motivates you, and what kinds of tasks or projects you take pride in, will you be able to narrow down your search and target a job and a company you will be happy dedicating your time and energy to.

Only when you have a clear understanding of the value you can bring to an organization will you be able to effectively communicate that value and land the job you are pining for.

career skills

Don’t Underestimate Your Soft Skills

In a general sense, soft skills relate to how you work. They are the set of personality traits and abilities that determine how well or how efficiently you complete a task, how well you work with others, and how well you work within a set structure or hierarchy.

Only when you have a clear understanding of the kind of environment you thrive in, what motivates you, and what kinds of projects you take pride in, will you be able to narrow down your search and target the perfect job and company.Click To Tweet

Soft skills are also sometimes referred to as transferable skills because, unlike certain technical skills, soft skills can be of value in any work context regardless of the sector of activity.

Common examples of soft skills include:

  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Teamwork
  • Interpersonal skills

and

  • Communication

Since you use soft skills in any work environment, they are relatively easy to assess and easy to highlight on your resume.

How to Know What Soft Skills You Possess

A common question recruiters or prospective employers ask during an interview is: “What conflict or difficulty did you encounter in your last job, and what steps did you take to overcome it?”

This question is meant to give recruiters and prospective employers an idea of your soft skills – what strengths or personality traits you possess that enable you to overcome obstacles.

You should spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on your past work experience – or any experience where you had to complete a task with or for others. Try to recall the difficulties you encountered and identify the steps you took, the skills you used to overcome these difficulties.

Not only will this give you an idea of the soft skills you possess, but it will give you concrete examples that you can include on your resume or prepare to speak about during a job interview.

Self-Assessment Can Be Fun

Self-Assessment is serious business, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t also be fun. Lensa, the website that matches professionals with their dream job and guides job-seekers on their path to success, has created an online game to help with self-assessment – especially as it relates to soft skills.

The game is free to play and only requires entering a valid email address to register. It takes approximately 8 minutes to play, but you can play as many times as you’d like.

Identify Weaknesses That Can Be Overcome Through Training

Photo by John Arano, link

An important part of the self-assessment process is identifying weaknesses or gaps in your skills and know-how. The more specific your findings are, the greater your chance of finding a remedy for these weaknesses or finding a way to fill in the gaps in your skills and know-how.

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses or gaps in your know-how, you should look for training to level up your career. There is no shortage of online platforms that offer training courses, tutorials, and webinars. Some of the more popular platforms include:

Additionally, if you are targeting a tech-heavy sector and feel you should learn more software programs to increase your chances of impressing recruiters, most of the popular software developers and platforms on the market offer their own academies or online tutorials and trials. 

Download a software package on a trial basis. Go through that software developer’s academy or follow their tutorials. Use the software on a test project, and put that software knowledge – and the completion of the training session – on your resume.

Don’t Self Reject

Photo by Steve Johnson, link

While a part of self-assessment does require you to make an honest examination of your flaws and weaknesses, it should not be used as a tool to reject your candidacy for a job you are interested in.

Remember, your job is to identify the jobs you want, the companies you wish to work for, and determine the value you can bring to that company or to that position. Your job is not to reject your application. Companies pay recruiters and HR staff a lot of money to do that. Don’t do their job for them.

While a proper self-assessment should help you target jobs you are qualified for and are more likely to get, there is nothing wrong with aiming high. In fact, setting your sights high is a good way to identify any lapses in your skill-set or know-how. Then you can take the appropriate measures to fill in those lapses.

Takeaway

Finding the right job is a process. And the process begins by taking a long look at yourself. Identify your strengths and your weaknesses. Take steps to remove or mitigate those weaknesses. Additionally, carrying out a thorough and effective self-assessment will help you better identify the types of jobs and the types of companies you are more likely to excel in, be happy, and feel a greater sense of pride and fulfillment.

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