May 29, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
How Strengths Coaching Landed Me the Perfect Job
By Liam Walters, final year, studying physics; and Erica Sparkes, Employability Education Projects Officer
It was the autumn term of my final year at university. I’d been invited to a video interview for a risk management graduate position in the financial sector.
I hadn’t done anything like this before, so I booked a practice video interview – see the information on Sonru here – and arranged an appointment to get some feedback afterwards.
On reviewing my practice interview, it was clear from my answers that I wasn’t enthusiastic about the role. I couldn’t explain in any detail why I was interested in risk management. The realisation that I didn’t know what I wanted to do did not feel like a great place to be.
What am I good at?
In my careers appointment, Erica recommended I try a strengths coaching exercise. These help you explore your interests. I was initially dubious when the cards came out, yet seeing all of the different strengths laid out in front of me was really interesting.
I was tasked with identifying my top three strengths from the 60 cards in front of me. However, it was the conversation that followed which really got me thinking about what I enjoy and want from my career.
Identifying my strengths
The first strength I chose was:
‘Action: you feel compelled to act immediately and decisively, being keen to learn as you go’ (Capp & Co Ltd, 2017)
I had previously stayed up all night working on a project about El Nino, which was something I found really interesting. Erica questioned what it was that made the project so enjoyable and it was the fact I was working on real-life data with a potential real-world application.
A simple conversation around one strengths card led to a eureka moment! I realised this was what was missing from the jobs I had been applying for. I needed to feel the role would be dealing with real data that has an impact in the world.
Refocusing my job search
So I refocused my job search, and in the spring term I was invited to interview for a role in financial forensics. This really ticked the boxes for me. If successful, I would be working on real data, compiling cases for court, so the real-world application I was looking for.
During the interview I was asked questions such as “what am I good at, and why am I good at it?” as well as “what did I enjoy about my physics degree?” Having explored my strengths, it really helped me to answer these questions. I wasn’t just listing my likes and dislikes. I was able to talk about what I was good at – my strengths – in the context of the role I was applying for.
The next day I received the news I had been hoping for. I was offered the position! Looking back, I had applied for lots of roles that I’m sure would have been a terrible idea for me because I would not have enjoyed them. Strengths coaching was a pivotal moment for me, and my career.
What Careers say about strengths….
Strengths coaching starts with a one-to-one. It includes a number of activities which can help you to explore the things you enjoy doing, you perform well and that give you energy – all good indicators of your strengths.
To help you, we use a pack of 60 strengths cards, devised by Capp, to capture the uniqueness of people. We may also recommend that you undertake the Capp Strengths Profile. This is where you spend time with a qualified strengths coach taking an in-depth look into your individual strengths. You will then get to consider what this might mean for you in the context of your career ideas.
Please contact us directly to get support in understanding your strengths. You can also book an interview support appointment, so you can prepare one-to-one for a strengths-based interview. Alternatively, keep your eyes peeled for strengths workshops during term time.