Taking Stock of Strengths

One of the traditional questions asked in an interview is, “What are your strengths?” This is a question that can be a bit challenging, but there are tools to help us evaluate and communicate our strengths. Some of the results can be revealing, but for the most part these tools really help us to discuss our strengths more effectively.

16Personalities describes my combination of personality traits as “The Advocate” (INFJ-A):

“Advocates indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – Advocates will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to Advocates, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.”

While working as a Human Services Specialist with Lyon County Human Services, I thrived as an advocate for children, parents, families, seniors, as well as individuals with physical or mental disabilities. I helped my clients discover their own strengths and fought to help them access services they needed to not only survive, but thrive. When customers are confronted with obstacles, I provide a listening ear, creative solutions, and the ability to advocate to management when I am unable to authorize a solution. Vital skills of any successful advocate are the abilities to listen, remain focused, and to see things from the other person’s perspective. I have been able to use these skills effectively throughout my career. When discussing my personality type to friends or co-workers, they often seem surprised that I am an Introvert. One friend was truly surprised because I am at ease while presenting or performing in front of an audience. I helped him to understand that when presenting, I see my audience as one person. I learned this strategy in a high school radio station and it has served me well. While I may be outgoing and friendly, I really do need some time alone to evaluate and recharge. I find being in crowds to be a bit overwhelming and prefer one on one interaction.

Strengths that I share with other Advocate types include creativity and insight. These two strengths help me to evaluate and problem solve using imagination, compassion, analysis, and pattern recognition. I then move forward with decisiveness and determination to put solutions to work. My tenacity and passion can inspire others toward change. Weaknesses can stem out of sensitivity toward criticism and conflict. I am aware of my own sensitivity and have employed coping strategies to help me work through it.

While I am idealistic, I am also willing and able to implement ideas, formulate strategies, develop plans, and execute those plans. I am dedicated, motivated, and action oriented. Not simply satisfied by having a good idea, I launch ideas and see them through.

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