Most people don’t give their job skill preferences much thought. They just use the skills, preferred or not. But how you feel about your skills and how often you use skills that you actually have talents for, can make or break the way you feel about your job – and your work life as a whole.
Not too many of us had a chance in high school to think about which skills we would most want to nurture, so that by the time we got to our first adult job, we had paved the way do work we actually enjoy and are good at. For many of us, careers kind of just happen. If you’re lucky, the first job you have will also have people who see your skills and help you strengthen them. But they are usually the skills the job needs, and not necessarily the ones you would choose if you had a choice.
So let’s take a moment to think about it now, before you move on to your next job. I want you to love this one – or at least like it a whole lot more!
Here’s a little skills preference career quiz I came up with just for you…
Career Quiz Question #1
Make a list of at least 10 things you do every day in your current job. Or things you’ve done in prior jobs or projects you’ve worked on. Go through your day in your mind and list everything you can. Don’t ignore even the small things, like “expert pencil sharpener.” All skills count, even if it’s just that they tell us something about you. (While not a skill sought after too often nowadays, an expert pencil sharpener could be good at things that require precision, and be even someone with unrecognized visual talents.)
Which of these things do you actually enjoy doing? Move those skills to a job skills preferences LIKE list. Move the others to a DO NOT LIKE list.
Career Quiz Question #2
Now let’s look some more at what you like doing. What skills do you have that you enjoy doing, but don’t get to use at work. Or almost never do. Try to come up with at least 10 of these skills. Think about fun things you do on your own or with others. Or special talents that you have, even if you might not call it a skill. Things you do. Things you create. Ways you communicate. Physical talents. Think of everything you can. Add these to your LIKE list.
Career Quiz Question #3
Looking at your responses to the first two questions, if you had a job that you absolutely enjoyed doing every day (with time off for good behavior), which THREE of those skills in the LIKE list would you pick to use? Take your time. Don’t try to think of jobs or careers. Just the skills you prefer. Circle your three favorite skills. (You may also want to look back at this one day.)
Career Quiz Question #4
Now think about jobs that might use these skills, and that don’t use the ones you would like to never do again. Unlike the very beginning of your work days (at least for most of you), YOU are now in charge of choosing where you point your career next, even if it takes some steps to get yourself there.
Let your imagination run wild. “Performance artist who sharpens pencils while eating Twinkies”? Well, maybe not quite that. See yourself sitting at your desk or at the front of a room speaking or outdoors amid nature or wherever the ideal job for you would be. What are you doing? What skills are you getting to use that you love? How does it feel?
And now, what career might let you do all or at least some of that?
Some Closing Thoughts
As with other quizzes on this site, you might get some helpful answers the first time or it might take a few times. Just having done this once gets your brain thinking about these things, even if you aren’t consciously paying attention to it. Career search answers evolve over time. Feel free to try again in a few weeks or even months, and see what ideas come up for you!
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