Written by Susan Lamphiear
“You grow most in your areas of greatest strength. You will improve the most, be the most creative, be the most inquisitive, and bounce back the fastest in those areas where you have already shown some natural advantage over everyone else. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. It just means you’ll grow most where you’re already strong.” Marcus Buckingham
Individuals who focus on their strengths are SIX times more likely to be successful in their roles. And THREE times as likely to say they have a high quality of life.
Keynote speaker at Scottsdale Career Connectors Stephanie Clergé reminded attendees of these remarkable stats as they define their own strengths to better navigate their own career search or career transition.
Stephanie shared her passion for helping others understand one another better, and helping them leverage their strengths. As a young child, her leadership strength meant she was considered “bossy” but that appears to have served her well.
With a background in helping people discover their strengths, Stephanie has developed expertise in coaching and training. Stephanie holds the title of Director of Training and Consulting at Kolbe Corp, an HR consulting firm specializing in assessments and interventions. She also runs her own coaching practice. She holds an industrial Engineering degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Babson College with a focus on corporate entrepreneurship.
Stephanie’s entire background has reinforced her belief that each of us needs to become aware of our own strengths, both to be more successful in the work place, AND to live a happier life.
How do we become aware of our own strengths? Stephanie suggests you take a look at your strengths in three ways.
Thinking – It’s what we CAN do! What is your intelligence, knowledge, experience, education and learned behavior?
Example of THINKING from Stephanie’s life: “I have nearly 20 years of people management and training skills. I have big corporate, solopreneur and small business experience. I’m skilled at managing large projects.”
Feeling – This is what we WANT to do. This includes your motivation, preferences, desires, values, and personality type.
Example of FEELING from Stephanie’s life: “I am naturally curious and enjoy leadership positions because I can provide my perspective toward strategic decisions and day-to-day execution. I am passionate about helping others understand one another better and helping individuals succeed, especially by leveraging their strengths.”
Doing – This is HOW you get things done. Consider your striving instincts, problem solving approaches, decision making methods, innate purposeful actions, and creative talents.
Finding your “doing” strengths
- Fact Finder–How do you gather and share information?
- Your follow through–How do you organize and arrange?
- Quick Start–How do you deal with risk and uncertainty?
- Implementor–How do you handle space and tangibles?
Example of DOING from Stephanie’s life: “I naturally solve problems by getting detailed information about the issue and potential solution. Then I brainstorm the practical alternatives and figure out the most efficient way I can fit my solution into an existing process or system.”
How else can I find my strengths?
- Ease–As an example of ease, try writing or printing your name with your non dominant hand and consider if it was easy, did it take more energy, and was it neat or sloppy?
- Energy–What energizes you?
- Excellence–Where do you excel?
- Experience — If you didn’t love a particular job, were there specific tasks within that job that you found energizing and loved doing?
Define your Strong Career OR one task from a career you loved. When did you love the job? the task? the team? the manager? the culture? the industry? the learning?
Think out of the box–Non-work or adjacent activities, Internships, volunteer activities, side projects/businesses, clubs/organizations, hobbies. What about these areas did you love?
Develop Your Tools, including your resume
- Your resume–Is it easy to read? What does your resume tell the employers in a quick scan? Does it reflect what you’ve done? How can you best contribute?
- Is it clear on your resume where you should be working next?
- Cover Letters are NOT Dead! Use the cover letter to captivate your audience, control the message, clarify a situation, or customize a response.
LinkedIn–A look from a Recruiter’s Lens
- Is your profile at 100%–Describe what, how and impact.
- Clear, concise headline (not cheesy or needy).
- Does the summary show a bit of your personality and desires?
- Does your profile contain well written recommendations by the right people?
- Remember to list a contact email.
- Answer InMail promptly.
- Be a part of relevant groups, follow relevant individuals and companies.
- Keep your profile updated!
Be able to tell your work history story
- Where did you work, how did you contribute, how long did you work there and why did you leave?
- What were your greatest accomplishments in each role?
- What are your strengths and how did they help you at work?
- Explain gaps in employment or other interesting circumstances
Be prepared for behavioral interviews
- Tell me about a time when…
- Have stories you can flex for different situations.
What skills have you demonstrated?
What do you WANT to do?
Strengths in Action: Contributions & Needs An example from Stephanie’s profile–“My strength is reviewing documentation (data, processes, presentations) written to influence others and providing guidance to make it more compelling.”
Stephanie’s recommendation if you’re stuck trying to communicate your strengths: Pick one strength that really describes you, or think of a task that really energizes you, or create a sentence with key elements of your talent contribution that you use to complete that task.
For more information from Stephanie on building your strengths and for slides from her presentation, click here.
Stephanie Helfer, Talent Acquisition Director
Meredith Garner, HR Business Partner
InfoArmor, the leader in employee identity protection, joined the Allstate Corporation family of companies in 2018.
The company’s next milestone involves the Allstate Digital Footprint which for the first time allows customers to see their personal information and how it might expose them to risk and allows them to do things no other identity protection plan has ever allowed them to do.
InfoArmor offers a workplace where employees want to come to work every day because they feel empowered and heard. Career benefits include leadership training, bonus plans for everyone in the company, merit increases, employee awards, and free health care for employee and family.
Openings include customer care specialists, remediation specialists, account managers, software developers, marketing specialists, marketing managers, and sales managers.
For more information on the company and to apply, visit their website.
Vanessa Corona, Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist
Cable One/Sparklight, a leading broadband provider, serves more than 900,000 residential and business customers in 21 states.
Committed to employees, customers, and the community, the company takes pride in providing employees with a supportive atmosphere, including a top notch compensation package.
Cable One/Sparklight strives to provide customers with 24/7 tech support and remains determined to inspire their employees to share the company commitment to community service. Among others, the company provides outreach to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and Feed My Starving Children.
Benefits and perks available to employees include medical, dental and vision plans starting on the first day; paid time off; 401K-100% company match starting after one year of service, up to 5% of salary; life insurance; tuition reimbursement up to $5250 the first year; up to $75 a month towards cable and internet services; advancement opportunities; collaborative work environment; food truck Tuesdays; and game room and fitness center. The fitness center includes cardio equipment and full-service locker rooms with showers.
For more information, or to apply, go to the company website.
Resources & Closing
Executive Director of Career Connectors Jessica Pierce closed the formal part of the event and invited guests to participate in the informal sessions including talking directly to hiring managers and resume experts, finding educational opportunities, visiting Coaches Corner, and posing for a free head shot by a professional volunteer photographer. She thanked all volunteers and the beautiful host facility, Highlands Church.
For details about upcoming Career Connectors events throughout the Valley, click here to visit the events section on the website for times, locations, and details about hiring companies and keynote topics.
Below, check out more thoughts on Career Transition and Finding Your Strengths.
Identify Your Strengths Marcus Buckingham, video
Forbes article about Marcus Buckingham Buckingham known as Founder of the Strength Revolution
TED Talk Felicia Ricci Tips from an actress who appeared in the Broadway musical Wicked, and who underwent an unexpected career transition
TED Talk Shane Lopez Focusing on Your Strengths