556: How to Strategically Use Your Strengths in an Interview

Bree knew she wasn’t using her strengths at work, but she wasn’t sure how to step into a position that truly fit her. On this live coaching call, we help her build a plan for revealing and reinforcing her signature strengths in her next interview.



Bree Hunter, Project Officer

on this episode

Everywhere you look these days, you can find articles sharing why focusing on your strengths is more valuable than improving your weaknesses. Using your signature strengths in your role means you can be energized instead of drained, engaged instead of bored, and successful instead of struggling.

When it comes down to it, working in your strengths can completely transform your work day, your career, and your entire life!

But once you recognize this fact and identify your unique strengths, you may hit a roadblock. How do you actually land a career that allows you to utilize the strengths that will make you happy and help you flourish?


I remember the days before I started Happen To Your Career when I’d look through job postings for new opportunities. Every once in a while, I’d stumble across a description that left me internally exclaiming:

“They need me! It’s like they wrote this description based on my exact desires and strengths! I’m a shoe-in!”

Can you relate? Maybe you’ve had one or many moments where you felt as though you were the PERFECT fit for a job opening. But then there’s a problem…how do you get the employer to see you’re the perfect fit? What do you say and do to show that you are the answer to their needs?

Being the perfect fit and helping an interviewer perceive you as the perfect fit are two very different things. Many interviewers won’t directly ask you to list your strengths and even if they do, your answer may not stand out from everyone else’s. Before your next interview, you must figure out your strategy for showing potential employers who you are and how your strengths will bring value to the organization.


Whether you hop on the phone for a quick HR screening or sit down face-to-face with your potential boss, you want to finish every interview knowing you’ve communicated why you are a good fit for the role. (Side note: If you don’t believe you are a good fit—meaning your signature strengths don’t align with the company and role—you probably won’t be happy even if you get the offer!) Helping an interviewer perceive you as a good fit involves revealing and reinforcing your signature strengths throughout your time together. This can be accomplished through three main tactics:


Have you ever noticed that when you say you love doing something, people assume you are good at that thing?

For instance, if someone says they love to ice skate, it’s a natural tendency to assume they are gifted at ice skating. You don’t picture someone who loves ice skating flailing their arms about until they bust their butt on the ice. No, you picture someone gliding smoothly along the surface, balanced and experienced.

It’s the same thing with strengths. If you say, “I love to connect with customers in a way that allows me to identify issues and create custom solutions,” your interviewer will automatically believe you are gifted at that particular skill. Unintentionally and subconsciously, they will assign positive traits associated with problem-solving and communication to you.


Don’t stop with saying what you love or hammering off a bulleted list of your strengths. Instead, prepare to share a story that reinforces each strength. You can identify and practice telling these stories to your friend or spouse before you begin your interviews to make sure you are clearly articulating your abilities through your story.

For example, using the strength identified above, you might say, “Let me tell you about a time I developed a creative solution that transformed an angry customer into one of our biggest fans. The angry customer, Bill, had requested customizations to his sales platform and the web team failed to notify him that customizations take up to six months for completion. I called Bill, asked him to explain his business to me, and discussed the why behind his specific needs. As Bill talked, I realized his business needs were parallel with a client we had partnered with the previous spring. Bill’s requests were different, but his purpose was the same. I explained to Bill that his requests would take more time to build, but if he was okay with utilizing a previously built interface, we could refund his customization fee and copy over the code and update his platform to work how he needed within one week. Bill was thrilled! After the changes were complete, he posted on social media that he’d be one of our customers for life. The solution I created not only removed his anger but made him one of our best and most loyal customers.”

This story helps your interviewers see your strengths in action, and they are more likely to remember an anecdote than a simple claim about what you can do.


Once you’ve shared what you love to do and shown how you’ve used your strengths in the past, paint a picture of your strengths at work in your potential new company. This will move your interviewers from just admiring your strengths to actually imagining you in the role.

Let’s say you’re interviewing for a role as a process improvement specialist for a medical center. Sticking with the story from above, here’s what this step might look like:

“In the same way that I effectively communicated and created a unique solution that transformed Bill from an upset customer to our biggest fan, I could quickly build rapport with the nurses, doctors, and administrators. I know you mentioned it can be difficult to get cooperation from these people, so I would use the same strengths that I used to help Bill see he could trust me. Once they began to share the issues they encountered on a daily basis, I could develop budget-friendly alternatives that cut non-value-added measures and capitalize on current resources. Viewing the medical team as my customer, I would solve specific problems in a way that meets business goals and leaves the direct care team happy.”

Preparing these answers before your interview gives you more control over your interviewers’ perception of who you are. Once you’ve defined what you love to do, shared your story of utilizing your strengths, and painted a picture of how you fit into their specific context, it will be almost impossible for them to forget you.

On our latest podcast episode, we share a live coaching call with Bree Hunter, an Aussie looking to move from her reactive and draining job to one that values her proactive, future-oriented strengths. Our call will give you an idea of what it’s like to work with one of our career coaches, plus give you a greater understanding of how to show your strengths and what to do with your weaknesses.

What you’ll learn

  • How to use your Clifton StrengthsFinder results, and where they will/won’t be useful for you!
  • Interviewing using your strengths (while still being humble and likeable)
  • Why you don’t need to focus on weaknesses (even though it will undoubtedly be an interview question)

Success Stories

“It’s hard to find something that fits, that’s why so many people change careers. When I finally understood my strengths and how I could apply them it all made sense. It just made it easier to see what types of jobs and roles would fit me. In my new career I get to do the marketing that I love with a company I’m excited about.”

Kirby Verceles, Sales & Marketing Director

since taking the program and the training, I've been able to onboard several new clients and be working with them and helping them find clarity for their jobs and land jobs that they want. And that has really been made possible by my experience and the guidance of professional career coach training

Jenny Spoelma, PCC

I really walked away with the tools and resources but really more importantly, like the knowledge and insights and understandings of the mindsets that are likely to hold my clients back in their careers, understanding those mindsets and how to coach them through those or really coach them in face. OR professional career coach training and certification program has really helped me in my career in a variety of ways. First one off the bat it's really allowed me to successfully launch my coaching business. It's brought me a long ways and just a handful of months. And it has really provided me with that strong confidence that the roadmap and coaching techniques that I'll use with my clients are tested and proven. I'm no longer guessing and hoping something will work or wondering if I've done enough to prepare for a client. On top of that, it's helped me in my career as someone who is building their business as a side hustle on top of a full time job. This program has really saved me incredible amounts of time by not having to figure out on my own or recreating all the tools and content to use with my clients that allows them to go deeper into their limiting beliefs and obstacles. So as someone again, who has a lot of things going on in their life, it's actually saved me a lot of time. OR So coming in to the professional career coach training and certification program, so much information was shared and the outline looks great. And I really had high expectations coming in and all of those were met and exceeded. The piece that I maybe didn't expect or underestimated was, how quickly I could incorporate these concepts into my coaching practice that this wasn't learning and then studying and six months down the road, okay, maybe I'll start doing that thing. These were techniques and strategies I could start implementing immediately. So the classroom to real life transition was incredibly faster than I could have thought or hoped it would be in the best of ways.

Erin Allett, Career Coach

My favorite part of the career change boot camp was actually having some of those conversations and getting feedback and positive feedback about strengths. And to me that was key, because in that moment, I realized that my network not only is a great for finding the next role, it also is helpful to… they help you remind you who you are and who you will be in your next role, even if the current circumstances are not ideal.

Elizabeth , Digital Marketing Analytics Strategist, United States/Canada

Bree Hunter 00:01

That's what I found really awakening with doing the StrengthsFinder is, "No, these are actually strengths which can be perceived as weaknesses in your current role."

Introduction 00:18

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:43

We get questions every week about assessments, particularly the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment. Is it accurate? Will it tell me what type of career I should focus on? How do I use it outside of my work? All good questions. However, we thought it would be better to show you how people can use strengths, what they are, how they work, and even incorporate them into things, like, interviews, and everything else. And we also thought it would be best if we showed you this real-time.

Bree Hunter 01:12

I don't get that time to be strategic or positive, pushing things forward in a positive light. And I think that's what I really enjoyed about the role I'm interviewing for is I was so energized by planning something positive for the community to utilize in the future.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:30

That's Bree Hunter from Tasmania. She's worked for the city of Hobart in a role that used to be great for her, but no longer fits what she wants. What you'll hear is us doing an actual recorded coaching session, where she had just taken the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment and is trying to figure out how she can use the results. You want to listen pretty close to this conversation because there's a pretty big surprise at the end. Here's our conversation and coaching session, take a listen as a fly on the wall.

Bree Hunter 02:00

So yeah, I really enjoyed the StrengthsFinder test. I found that really useful to sort of pull a few things together and things that you're kind of already feeling but haven't really been able to articulate or put into some sort of framework.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:17

Yeah. Very cool. And if I have this up here correctly, it looks like your strengths themes from Strength Finder were learner harmony, restorative, positivity, and individualization. Does that sound right?

Bree Hunter 02:31

That's right. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:32

Very cool. So then the other thing that I saw from the email that you sent a little bit earlier today, or let's see here, was that you're hoping to get a little bit better understanding of how you can actually leverage these. So now that you have the ability to articulate them a little bit differently, how do you actually use these things. And then it sounds like currently, you are, well, I mean, obviously, you got another job interview coming up here. But your past role or current role feels like it is not the right fit for several reasons, and you talked about workplace culture. And did you use the term busy work? Is that what it was?

Bree Hunter 03:14

I did. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:17


Bree Hunter 03:18

It's a case of, I've been in this role for two and a half years now. And before that, I was still sort of connected to this role. And I loved it for a period of time. And it's just, I've changed and grown, I guess. So it's time to take on a new challenge. And I was acting in the role I'm applying for, although I'm interviewing for later today. And that's where I found it really energized me the thing that I was doing. And then having done the Strength Finder, it just backed up why those particular functions were energizing me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:56

What were some of those functions?

Bree Hunter 03:58

Working with a community. So it was project managing. The planning phase of new projects, and I was working on new mountain bike tracks. So I got to do all the community consultation, and the planning around that. And I really enjoyed getting feedback from the community and advocating for what they wanted. And also, within our work for city council, pulling people together within the council to get the project going, like, I don't hold claim to hold the expertise, I really rely on other people's expertise and getting the right people together to make something happen, and just sort of facilitating that process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:41

Okay. All right. That makes sense. So let me ask you a few questions, then. And then I think I can help with a few of these things. First of all, just a clarifying question, the role that you're interviewing for, is that in the same organization, or is that a different organization?

Bree Hunter 05:01

It's the same organization. But at the moment, I'm in operations at like a depo sort of setting. And that role would be in the town office away from operations.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:14

Okay, very good. So let's see if we can leave a little bit of time in terms of working up to how you talk about strengths and interviews. Because different than how most people would think, very often, they find that many of us perceive that we're going to need to talk about them extensively and use like the right word so that it perfectly matches up to our strengths and everything. And I find that there's much easier, much more organic ways to be able to leverage your strengths in your interview. So let's see if we can leave a few minutes to talk about that towards the end. And then in the meantime, let's see if we can get to the bottom of some of these strengths and even understand them a little bit deeper so that we can figure out how to answer some of the other questions in terms of what is right for you. Is that fair?

Bree Hunter 06:03

Excellent. Okay.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:05

Cool. So along those lines then, you said it sounded like a lot of these when you read them do line up. Are there any in particular that you find don't match up for one reason or another? I guess that's question number one.

Bree Hunter 06:22

No, I think they all line up. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:26

Okay, great. What about, then out of these five that you have on this list, are there any that resonate with you more so than the others?

Bree Hunter 06:36

I would say, learner, restorative, and individualization.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:45

Okay, so tell me about each one of those. Let's start with individualization. So what about that really feels like, "Yeah, this is clearly high resonated or high priority."

Bree Hunter 06:59

Okay. It resonates because in my job I manage a team of people. And I really enjoy leading people. And I like resolving conflicts. I like carrying people together. You might not think through each other, but I can see they've got particular strengths, or weaknesses that counterbalance one another. And a lot of that comes from just my own experience working in small teams. What else? I think everyone's unique. I enjoy learning from other people's experiences and learning from that. And at the same time, I really enjoy having responsibility that I sort of have control for the end product and making sure that things are completed.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:52

Yeah, that makes sense. Those things particularly, I think, that everyone is unique. Those are things that somebody who can't help but individualize would say. That's very individualistic of you Bree. So what about the other two? I want to just understand just a little bit more, and then I've got a few questions that I want to help take us a little bit deeper on this.

Bree Hunter 08:19

Okay. As far as the learner, I'm just sort of skimming what it says makes you stand out. I love the learning. But as it's in there, which I thought was interesting, I actually enjoy the process of learning. Like, I might not retain all the information, but I love the activity of it. And particularly things I'm interested in, like, for the last probably 18 months I've really been interested in leadership and management, and learning tools and ways to grow in that space. But I particularly like to learn about myself and how to improve myself and then helping other people improve themselves as well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:00

Where have you seen that really... What's an example of where you've seen that, really recently, that like, "If only I could do more of that."?

Bree Hunter 09:10

Funny because I've also been listening to a video coaching series. I find my favorite part of the day is not busy working, getting things done, but it's the interaction that I have with people. And I can easily stop and spend a fair bit of time just learning about them, and learning from them and seeing where they're at. Somewhat taking conversations off track of work, and really finding more about who they are and learning from their experiences and also asking them sort of questions that might point out things that they hadn't thought of before I realized. And it's a shame that I can't... I'm very aware and trying to be time efficient with what I do. So I only have so much time that I can take out to have those conversations.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:01

That's super interesting then. One, that you have already recognized that. But I think that one of the things that, as coaches, that we look for, just to give you a glimpse behind the scenes, we're looking for where are the anomalies. And one of the places that we find anomalies a lot of the time is, where are those places within your current work that you keep gravitating towards, but don't necessarily have enough time for it. It feels like you perpetually don't have enough time for. So that's in my mind, as you say that, that's one of the things I hone in on and want to know more because that is likely where we're finding those anomalies, as I'm explaining what I'm doing for coaching, I guess, at the same time here. So tell me more about that then, where do you find out of those types of interactions that you are adding value to someone else's world too, where you're getting either feedback, or thank yous, or things like that with those types of interactions where you get to learn about them and ask them questions, as you said, but you're sort of taking conversations off track, and it's not a normal part of your job per se?

Bree Hunter 11:14

I guess, sort of more the coaching style. I've talked a lot about in management courses these days. Pulling more information out and asking them like you're doing to me the questions that they might have in the back of their mind but haven't had to answer before when helping clarify things for them. And I don't get to, like, I often deal with members of the public. And so I don't always get to do that with them because I might be trying to negotiate a particular issue or something that they're not happy with. So I often use this strength of mine to build a rapport with them quickly, to let them know that I understand their issues. And I also realize that often people just want to voice their opinion, get something off their chest. So I guess I sort of use coaching techniques in that space.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:06

It sounds like you're thinking a few different times. What's a recent example where you've done that?

Bree Hunter 12:12

I manage fire and reserves and managing and mitigating fire, which is in the urban interface. So often we're cutting down trees, or slashing vegetation next to people's houses. So they get upset. So I go out and say, "You know, this is what's happening. And we have to... they might be planting trees on council land, and we need to remove them." So getting them, you know, I've mentioned, how long have you lived here, sort of getting a picture of their connection to the property then explaining the changes in our policy and why now all of a sudden we have to remove the vegetation, saying that, "You know, I completely understand if this was happening next to my harm." But then coming back to the facts of why it's really important that we need to do this. So I guess a bit of education, which often the public aren't aware of, you know, the effects as to why we're doing particular things. And I guess just coming to an agreement and getting them to see my point of view, as well as the land manager, and there's liability issues. And it's concerning for us. And I'm faced to deal with this situation, I don't want to have to do it, but it's for their own safety.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:29

So this is super interesting. That one set of examples uses every single one of the strengths themes. So if we break this apart, for just a second here, and we look at that example where you've got to go talk to, it sounds like, you know, a property owner or somebody who's utilizing the piece of property or whatever else it is, and they're planting trees, or whatever else is going on, you having that conversation. First of all, you're asking the types of questions other people don't ask. And I think that partially comes from your desire to learn. But I think that also comes from maybe even more so your tendency to want to individualize and really understand kind of the uniqueness. And then what has a tendency to happen is it sounds like you are leveraging that information that you accumulate through your desire to learn and your tendency to individualize. And then you also have this desire in some ways, or you can't help but do it even if desire is the wrong word, to have a higher degree of ability to bring things back together for harmony. And interestingly enough, like, I can, probably anybody can tell within 10 minutes of talking to you that you're generally a positive person. So I can see a lot of the positivity pieces. We call the positivity and a few other strengths, we call them umbrella strengths because they have a tendency to just go over the top of whatever else that you're doing. And it has a tendency to be difficult to separate it out, whether you want to or not, it's just going to kind of be there working, amplifying other things in the background. But does that make sense how that one example that you gave me really is actually pulling from all five of these different areas? It's not really just any one or two of these.

Bree Hunter 15:25

Yeah, no, that's really interesting. It was good to go through that exercise.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:30

Have you ever thought about it in that way before?

Bree Hunter 15:32

No, I haven't. And that really makes it quite clear. Now, that's great.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:37

What is clear to you now versus before?

Bree Hunter 15:41

I guess, stepping through the process that I have when I speak to landowners about these issues. And again, giving it that framework, which I often have trouble articulating, highlights each one of those steps, picks up one of those strengths. And so I'm really just stepping through those strengths and bringing it all together at the end to create a positive, harmonious outcome.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:09

What you'll find, or at least I think you'll find based on my experience in working with other people that have similar strengths to yours or this type of strengths combination, is that you'll probably flourish in areas where you get to be proactive, versus reactive. And here's what I mean by that. And there's a couple other words we could use to describe it, maybe even better. When you are faced with a continuous sort of problems that are coming from a negative standpoint, if that's all you're doing all day, that's going to feel really, really draining on you. Because both your restorative nature and your harmony nature, going to want to pull it back to harmony or want to restore those situations. And if that's what you're doing all day long, where you are perpetually out of harmony, then that is going to, it's going to feel really, really like it takes a lot of energy, and it's going to feel very, very, well, I think draining is the right word.

Bree Hunter 17:15

I think that explains it perfectly. And that's why I started in my current role, because it's all very reactive, and it is draining. I don't get that time to be strategic or positive, pushing things forward in a positive light. And I think that's what I really enjoyed about the role I'm interviewing for, is I was so energized by, you know, planning something positive for the community to utilize in the future. And that was really energizing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:44

Yeah,. So I think just to give you a little bit of validation that the more that you can align yourself with those types of roles, and organizations that are putting you in that more proactive standpoint where you get to, proactive and productive standpoint, where you get to work more on, "Hey, this is already good. But we need to make this even better." Or, "We need to take the situation, which is generally more on the positive side. And we need to move this agenda forward." Those are going to be better fits, better alignment for what you need, and better play to your strengths. So I think one thing that if you haven't already got it written down someplace capturing that you definitely need to be on more of the proactive side, or the more positive, making it better side is going to be something that is a must within your next role. If you don't get to spend the majority of your time there, it's gonna feel like it does now or worse.

Bree Hunter 18:44

Yeah. Now, that's really good point. And that's what surprised me about the strengths tests with the think it was learner. I never had the confidence, I guess your experience around strategic planning. And I thought it was something that, you know, I wasn't going to be very good at. But I think this is where that comes through. Being strategic is just focusing on those things to improve, which is often in my current role. I get frustrated because I see all these things there that I want to improve but I just don't get the time. It's not the focus of the job. And therefore I often feel like I'm not achieving things or I'm letting the team down because I'm not able to improve those things.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:29

Yes. So it feels almost like you're perpetually losing.

Bree Hunter 19:36

Yes. Even though others don't say that or think that. I really internalize that. Yeah. Cool.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:45

So I think that there's probably areas where we could dive much further but I wanted to save a little bit of time. So we could talk about how to leverage some of these things in the interview. But I think that the more that you can ask yourself those types of situations, like, in my past roles where have I found those small tidbits that I am gravitating towards? Or where have I found the small tidbits of enjoyment or the things that I'm particularly great at? And then break those apart and see which strengths are kind of coordinated with that, then you'll begin to get more answers about what really is going to be right for you within that next role too, whether it's the one you're interviewing for or another one.

Bree Hunter 20:28

Okay. Yeah, that's good advice.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:31

So when you think of interviewing then, to shift gears now, where do you find you're having the most struggle and thinking about this idea of communicating your strengths? Or getting across your strengths and interview? Help me understand the desire there first.

Bree Hunter 20:48

I don't know if they'll actually or they're not likely to ask the question, what do you feel your strengths are? Because the company-based questions. So I've got to be really conscious of knowing my strengths and throwing them into examples that I answer in the interview. So if it's problem-solving question, then talking them through the example, but being conscious of where you particularly highlight and say, "Because one of my strengths is such and such and such. Clearly, I have the ability to do this very well. And this is where that came through." I guess it's more in relation to that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:31

I have a couple of, if that's the case, then I have a couple of ideas for you in terms of things that I can teach you fairly quickly that might be really useful to you immediately this afternoon. One of the things that I find is that when you communicate that "I enjoy", or, "I love something", people automatically assume that you are good at it. That's our tendency and a bit of our human nature. So they don't necessarily always think about it in those terms. But that's the association they get along with it or the feeling that they get as well. They don't necessarily in their brain say, "Well, she loves that. So she must be good at that." That's not how the self talk works, necessarily. But that is one of the things that we find over lots of years of testing this stuff out, and knowing some of the psychology behind it, too. So knowing that, you can leverage that immediately in your next interview. So if they ask, you know, you were talking about like a problem-solving question, right? So you probably know a little bit about since you work there, too, like what types of questions, is that going to be like a behavioral style question where they say, "Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem." Or are they going to say, "Hey, if you have to solve this problem, what are you going to do in this situation?" Which do you think more of those might show?

Bree Hunter 22:56

The behavioral. Yeah, so you give an example and talk yourself through the task scenario.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:03

Okay, perfect. So if that's the case, and they say, "Hey, tell me about a time where you had to solve the problem that popped up on short notice, and you were successful with it at the end?" So just that type of question. So instead of saying, "One of my strengths is problem-solving." A different way that you can go about that is be able to say, "Well, let me tell you about the time in my last role where I had this particular problem. And I gotta tell you that one of my favorite things about this piece of my previous role was AB and C." In this case, it might be "getting to interact with people in a way that I got to understand their problem. And I got to understand really what they need. And then piece together a solution that was really individualized to them. And I found that every single time I got the opportunity to do that, they were actually pretty happy. Like, we went from a situation where they were, quite frankly, not excited at the at the beginning." And you'll want to use specific times or specific examples, "You know, I was talking to Bob about the tree. And Bob was telling me that, you know, really, after I asked the question, like, "How long have you lived here? When did you plant the tree?" And he was telling me all this situation, and I learned that Bob didn't realize that he couldn't plant the tree there. And if I would have..." I'm just making this up on the fly but "If I would have gone down the road a little bit further, and just started telling Bob that he can't plant the tree there without asking all of this to try and understand, then it would have been a terrible situation. And quite frankly, Bob was already irritated and I probably would have made him further irritated. But I love that opportunity to be able to understand what's important to the people and where they're coming from. And every single time I look at that as an opportunity to be able to learn more about it, and then figure out how we can get what we both need. And after I asked Bob what that was, we were able to talk about it. And we figured out a solution. And he was actually going to move the tree back five feet. And that worked out really, really well in the end. But I find every time I get the opportunity to have those types of interactions with people, and take a situation that would otherwise be bad, and really recognize where they're coming from, those are the things that I do very, very well, but also, they're the times where I enjoy it the most. So one of the reasons that I'm excited about this particular role is because I perceive that I get to do more of that." Does that make sense in terms of example for how to go through that, but then you relate it to the needs of the other role? And then you also relate it to your particular strengths, not saying that these are my strengths, but these are the things that I enjoy the most. And here's how I'm actually using them.

Bree Hunter 26:07

Now, that was really good. And I was actually able to, while you were speaking, think about how I actually using my strengths, I find were the needs of landowners and the council profs and finally compromised that to disburse. But I think I'll leverage that. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:29

That is fantastic. So that's one very easily transferable way to talk about your strengths and give people the impression of what your strengths are, but also, at the same time, being able to relate it into their world because you're like literally showing them like, "Hey, here's the element that I perceive is going to be helpful to you." And putting that as a portion of your answer too. So that you're spelling it out for them, but at the same time, you're not tooting your own horn in a way that feels false.

Bree Hunter 27:02

Good advice, Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:04

Well, I'm glad that it is helpful. How else can I be helpful to you?

Bree Hunter 27:09

I guess how... I feel we sort of touched on a little bit. Yeah, my current role, I feel like I've been battling with just trying to improve my weaknesses. And I guess that's what I found really awakening with doing the StrengthsFinder is, "No, these are actually strengths, which can be perceived as weaknesses in your current role." And I guess that's where, you know, that's your whole thing, your values, or your strengths don't align with what you're doing. But how do you balance using and harnessing your strengths but also, you've got weaknesses, and you're going to have to utilize your weaknesses, time to time? Like, how much do you focus on improving those weaknesses?

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:56

Yeah, I think that the more time you can spend actually trying to align yourself with your strengths and trying to spend more of your time there, we find that that is going to take you further faster, for nearly any goal that you have inside or outside of your career, whether it is other areas of life, whatever else, it's just going to get you further faster and got a lot of data and evidence to support that, versus spending really any kind of time at all, focusing on bringing up your weaknesses. Unless it is to figure out how you're going to give him some thought for how you're going to balance that out in one way or another. Maybe that is, "I'm great at this on the team. And there's this other person that was great at the other thing. So maybe we can share some of the workload." Or even something of that kind of strategic thought. Or, in my case, I mean, I do a lot of that on our own individual team. Because quite frankly, I'm bad at a lot of things based on my strengths. And that's okay. But that type of strategic thought is useful around it versus me spending tons and tons and tons of time focused on things that I will probably never be good at. And I don't want to confuse that with skills. So strengths are different skills.

Bree Hunter 29:13

I guess that's what I've been utilizing in my own team, probably the last 12 months, is recognizing what I'm not as good at which others are. And doing that same thing delegating those tasks to those people who enjoy doing those things more, and they're better at it, which gives you time to focus more on the other things. And I guess one thing about this job I'm interviewing for to be a real shift because I won't be managing a team. I'll only be working on my own projects, but again, pulling those other people in as experts to help. That might require me to utilize some of those shadow strengths a bit more because I'm relying on myself to get it done.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:59

Yeah. I see what you mean. So, prior to, I think that's a great... The interviews a great opportunity to find out more about that. Maybe it turns out, it's really not a good fit. And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. But I think if I'm in your situation, I'd rather know before accepting it, versus after accepting it. But I think that great opportunity to, since you know some of those things about yourself, to ask for the areas that are of highest priority for you, and ask and try and understand at a deeper level, versus a lot of interviews if you don't ask, then it's going to gloss over it because they don't necessarily know what's important to you.

Bree Hunter 30:41

Yes. And I guess this job I'm going for, it's about improving things for the community. And I would just have to accept that it's not for particular individuals, and you're not going to make everyone happy in the community. So some people might not like what you're doing, and whether I'd be comfortable with that, or that just frustrates me long term.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:04

Yeah, that would be interesting. I definitely would say a good opportunity for you to learn more about that, and maybe even go out and talk to some of the community prior to, if they offer you the role, or if you decide to even grant the role or whatever, like, do that as a little bit of an experiment and try and feel out whether that is something that's empowering to you or frustrating to you about some of the issues that you would actually be working on. And that would be a good way to kind of validate that, "Hey, is this going to be lifted me up type of thing, or drag me down, type of thing?"

Bree Hunter 31:36

Yeah, cool. Now, that's really helpful. And even if it's just a stepping stone, a different job to develop other skills, or learn new skills to use time or something, take those skills and the whole package and try something else, or might lead to something else. That kind of feeling.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:01

Hey, if you love this story where we talk through and walk you through step by step how someone got to more meaningful work, then you'll absolutely love our audiobook– Happen to Your Career: An Unconventional Approach to Career Change and Meaningful Work. I even got to narrate it, which was so fun. And something that I really enjoyed doing and will definitely do for future books as well. But it also contains firsthand accounts from career changers on how they made the move to more meaningful work, just like we include on the podcast here. And actually, it's been called the best audiobook experience ever by some reviewers. You can find those reviews, and the book itself on Audible, Amazon, or any other place where books are sold. Seriously, just pause this right now and go over to Amazon or Audible or wherever you want and download it. You can be reading it and started on your career change in literally seconds.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:56

Now, here's a sneak peek into what's coming up next week right here on Happen to Your Career.

Speaker 3 33:01

But that goes back to, "If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got." And so by taking this kind of like incremental safe approach to career change, and like just career nudges, was not yielding me the vision of engaged work.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:21

Why does making a career change feel risky to so many people? I mean, I get it, if you're in an organization where the pay is great, or the benefits are awesome, or you have the flexibility that you want to continue to have, or maybe even the people are absolutely wonderful, and you're afraid of losing all of that. But here's the thing, even if you're not really happy with the job, and not really happy with the situation, what goes through so many of our heads is, "Is it worth taking the risk on a new career and possibly losing all the good parts?" But have you ever considered why it feels risky to you? Now, I would argue two things. One, that after doing this many, many years, not just the podcast, but helping 1000s of people through career change, we don't typically see that people are losing all the good parts. We see that that rarely ever happens. And instead, I would argue that the far larger risk is the risk of doing nothing and staying for more years of your life in a situation that's no longer good for you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:28

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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