I have to admit that when I needed to take the Gallup Poll’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 skills assessment prior to teaching a resume class for people who had been unemployed for months, I was skeptical, even cynical, about the results. I had completed many assessments in my career (even though I had the same MyersBriggs profile as the CEO of 3M in 1989, I didn’t get hired there). What would one more assessment do for me?
Well, I was wrong. I took StrengthsFinder online; the code is in the back of the book, which I ordered from Amazon for about $13. I received a detailed explanation of my five top strengths that felt like the writer had known me all my life. I had always thought my insatiable desire to learn was kind of “nerdy”; after reading the analysis of “Learner,” I discovered ways to highlight that strength in my resume/marketing materials.
What was most interesting, though, was to compare the results of my students who had the same strengths as I did. Their detailed analysis of, say, the strength of Responsibility was totally different than mine. StrengthsFinder is clearly a sophisticated tool that captures and highlights individual differences.
The best part was to work one-on-one with my students rebuilding their resumes after receiving their assessments. One woman had been apologetic about her work history, speaking negatively about its apparent incoherence. We wrote out her five strengths on the top of her draft and quickly identified how her three separate career moves demonstrated increasing responsibility and growth within her five strengths. Her shoulders relaxed and she started to smile more in class.
The theory behind StrengthsFinder 2.0 is that most training focuses on improving our weaknesses. That’s all well and good, but this assessment suggests that we also identify our strengths, demonstrate them to our potential employers/clients, and focus on building our careers on our strengths. That makes a lot of sense to me.