Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

Show Confidence: Know your Strengths

Who are you?

Ever heard the question “what’s your greatest strength?” It seems simple…sort of, unless you find yourself answering with “well this one…no wait, that one is my greatest!” We all have many strengths, many of which we (hopefully) consider great. Otherwise our contributions to the world would be a bit limited, eh? Instead, think of describing your greatest strength as those that are most relevant to the person(s) with whom you are speaking.

Talking to the person who may be your next boss? Highlight the strengths that contribute most heavily to the specific job/department/company. Conversing with potential co-workers? Hit on your strengths that illustrate your ability to adapt and fit in with the team. Talking with an HR recruiter? Perhaps focus on those that demonstrate your commitment to the industry and company.

Sounds fairly simple…but only if you know what your strengths are to begin with! This is where a fun little activity called the 6-word memoir comes in. Think about and write down 6 characteristics that you would use to describe yourself professionally. What might you want someone to know about you? What do you think describes you at your core? NOTE: these can be personality-based, knowledge-based, and/or transferable skill based.

Once you have your list, take a hard look at them.

  • Can you say them better? Is there other terminology that is more descriptive or more fitting for your intended industry?
  • Do you really mean them? Sometimes it’s easy to write down the obvious choices. But that’s way too…well…obvious! You are unique. Try to describe yourself as such.
  • Can you prove them? Come up with 3-5 stories that support what you’ve identified. Not only does that help to clarify your strengths, but it helps develop a story bank to pull from later in an interview situation.

This is a never-ending process, as your strengths grow and develop throughout your life. Word to the wise, don’t shrug off this important step by saying “I don’t like to brag about myself.” If you don’t talk about your strengths, who will?

Jocelyn Says: Add Extra-Curriculars to your College Experience

College students are shown, through their course work, how education is relevant to future career paths and/or academic endeavors. At LVC, we learn specific terminology, practice best techniques, and acquire helpful information that will ultimately help us succeed in the “real-world.” But there should be more to our college career than strictly academics, right? I think so.

While complete immersion in one’s studies is noble, a key factor to success (personally and professionally) is overall fulfillment. Therefore, regardless of your field of study, I encourage you to:

  • Identify your interests
  • Hone in on hobbies that align with those interests
  • Express your passions by becoming actively involved in extra-curricular activities

How do you get involved? When you come back for the fall semester, look into joining clubs/organizations. These offer a variety of experiences from leadership roles to community service, which can introduce you to new friends, offer an outlet for your passion, and help you to grow as a person. If you’re not quite sure what would be a good fit, then attend a few meetings with an open mind. Try something new!

The Activities Fair, held every September, is open to the entire campus. I highly recommend taking a look at the activities that interest you, even if they are not directly related to your major. If you’re not sure what clubs are at LVC, visit the student activities page at http://www.lvc.edu/student-activities/ for a quick overview. No matter what year you’ll be entering into, it’s not too late to get involved.

Are you already a member of a few organizations? Spend some time over the upcoming break reflecting on why those clubs resonate with you.  It may help to re-energize you for the fall semester, or it might just provide the motivation that you need to take on a leadership role.

Incorporating extra-curricular involvement into your college experience will provide a much more enjoyable time, while helping you to also set goals and work toward achievements in multiple aspects of your life.

 

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15, Career Services, Student Assistant

The Impact of Involvement

I’ve said it many times, it’s not the activity that matters to the employer, it’s what you’ve gained from that activity that counts.  The key is to identify the skills you’re developing, explain situations you’ve encountered, and make connections between your past behavior and how you will likely perform as a professional.

Involvement in clubs or organizations, community service, athletics, internships, and any work experiences (paid or unpaid) all count as valuable activities.  Don’t discount your academic involvement either!  Group projects and class assignments encourage critical thinking and team work; research papers and projects develop investigative and communication skills.  And what about those of you who have spent (or plan to spend) a semester studying abroad?  There is a wealth of attitudes and skills you acquire from an international experience.

For those of you studying abroad, consider participating in the new program, Expanding the Journey, a collaboration between the offices of Study Abroad and Career ServicesYou may have read Kaitlyn McDonald’s article about it in a recent edition of La Vie Collegienne, but in case you missed it, Kaitlyn has given permission for me to post it here!

“Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, if you let it.

Being abroad will test your comfort zone, push your emotional boundaries, and open you up to experiences that you never knew existed. That is a lot to deal with on your own, both emotionally and physically. Luckily, there is a new program on campus that aids future study abroad students through their future endeavors.”  Read Kaitlyn McDonald’s full article ->

What Skills are Employers Looking For?

Each year, the National Associate of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys employers on the top skills/qualities they are seeking in the next graduating class.  Often times, the top skills remain the same, even if the order changes around a bit.  Would you be able to provide employers with examples of ways in which you’ve demonstrated these skills?  Does your resume help to illustrate your experiences in these areas?  Take a look at the 2013 results to see how you measure up and where you might need to focus your efforts:

Post 9 - Employer rate Candidate Skills and Qualities in Order of Importance