Assessing and Handling Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When seeking a new job or trying to progress in a chosen path, there are so many aspects to consider. Many people understandably feel overwhelmed. A multitude of matters demand attention but you may experience trouble in categorising them, prioritising them and tackling them optimally. The career wheel is an effective technique to assist with these concerns.
Fill In The Wheel
Print off a copy of the large wheel shown. Identify the 8 most important features of your job search or career progression.
For example, you might select any of the following – check online recruitment noticeboards, research employers’ websites, rewrite CV and improve presentation skills.
You may also opt for increasing confidence, interview tips, sourcing childcare, organising finances, expanding a network of contacts, or even buying appropriate business attire.
Write these on the edge of the wheel with each feature taking up one segment.
Rate yourself out of 10 on each one. How well are you doing at the moment? Be honest but also be fair to yourself.
Place a dot on each score in each segment in the 1-10 line. Join these dots together in the manner shown in the small diagram.
What Shape Are You In?
Is your wheel a large, clean circle or does it look more like the uneven, bumpy ride shown in the small diagram? Whatever the outcome, you can immediately see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Take A Balanced View
Avoid the mistake of concentrating solely on the “lowness” of some scores, which can lead into a downward spiral of negativity. Instead, look at each ranking, whatever it may be, and give yourself credit for what you have achieved by this stage in your career. Assigning due notice to your positive attributes and your journey so far is vital both in terms of creating a realistic skills audit and in engendering an upbeat perception of yourself.
Ordering Your Needs
The next issue to be determined is the order in which you confront each segment. There are various strategies that you can adopt to help you decide.
- What is the lowest score? – usually the weakest point attracts immediate attention and you may feel this needs to be managed in a timely manner.
- Which would be the easiest to implement? – if buying business clothing is a necessity, you may opt for this as it is relatively straightforward to achieve (compared to working on aspects of your character). Do not underestimate the power of quick wins in building confidence.
- What would have the biggest impact? – if presentation skills are going to make or break your chances, you may wish to enhance these even if you already have a reasonably good score in this respect.
- What appeals most? – if you have similar scores and nothing stands out, choose what you might enjoy most in developing. This way you can build your motivation.
- Which is the most cost effective? – resources are finite and improvement may be most helpful when undertaken in an economically conscious manner.
Assessment is of limited value without a plan of action to back it up. For example, assume that you decide to focus on updating your skills. Perhaps, in the past, this was a sticking point when it came to landing the right job. You might come up with the following solutions.
- Research what skills prospective employers in a particular market require.
- Read a book on how to obtain these skills.
- Access free information and pointers on the internet relying on reputable sources.
- Take a course.
- Join a professional organisation which offers industry accreditation.
Rank how far up the segment scale each option will take you. If one alternative improves you from 2 to 3, but another promotes you from 2 to 4, you have pinpointed what to prioritise. Time and money are scarce commodities, so use them wisely.
Ditch Perfection, Pitch For Progress
Be careful not to be despondent if you do not attain a very high score in every area, even after making significant alterations. The key is to make progress incrementally. As all of us are a work in progress and learning is a lifelong endeavour, aiming for a string of 10s is simply unrealistic.
If you look at Olympic diving and gymnastics competitions, gold medals are handed out to universal acclaim for scores of less than a perfect 10. Bearing this parallel in mind, do not be too harsh on yourself. A rank of 8 may well be good enough for your purposes.
What is top-notch, however, is that your own personal career wheel is an ideal tool to highlight talents and opportunities. Use it to roll on to the success you deserve.