Strengths Profiles Can Enhance Your Job Search

By Dale A Cobb

     A lot of people are stuck in their job search today. If you find yourself there, rest assured you're not alone. Most successful job searches consist of at least 4 steps including strengths assessment, industry research and targeting, resume building and interviewing. A good psychometric profile can help with each of these steps, even if it just helps you discover where your biggest challenge is and get some help.

     There are a number of terrific strengths profiles available today. The DISC Profile may be the most used strengths indicator by businesses world-wide. Close behind, might be Myers-Briggs and Strengths-finder, which was developed by the Gallup Organization a little over a decade ago. I like Stand Out, a new instrument developed by the Marcus Buckingham Company as well. Values Index is another that may add some helpful insight. Each of these instruments can be very useful.

     The first way a profile or strengths indicator may help is in identifying the best potential job match. Even if you're at the place of being willing to take a job doing anything, you'll be better off in the long run if you have a clear idea what your natural talents and non-talents are and how they match up with specific positions. While not fool proof, most of the mentioned profiles can be useful when debriefed with a skilled job coach that is familiar with the specific instrument.

     For example, sales work is potentially a good match for those scoring high in the "I" dimension on DISC. High "Extraversion" on Myers-Briggs, "Woo" on Strengthsfinder and "Influencer" on Stand Out might point in a similar direction. A high score on the "Economic" dimension in the Values Index might be a natural fit for commissioned sales work where there is no ceiling on income.
Can you be successful in sales without these attributes or traits? Perhaps, but sales usually involves meeting a lot of new people. If you find this activity draining or even terrifying, it might become a barrier to both job success and satisfaction.

     The second way a strengths profile can be helpful is to suggest specific steps in the job search process itself that might prove either natural or very challenging. As I said earlier in the article, most job searches include at least 4 steps including strengths clarification, industry research and targeting, resume writing and interviewing.

     If you scored high in "Input" on the Strengthsfinder Profile researching potential industries and companies to target will probably come easy for you. A high score on the "C" dimension in DISC will probably indicate the same. The Myers-Briggs "ISTJ's" and "INTJ's" are often the best researchers while the "Connectors" in Stand Out should excel at this job search activity.
If you do find yourself to be challenged in a particular step of the job search, it might be helpful to get extra coaching, training or practice with that step. In some cases you might even want to find someone to do most of that step for you. Most job searchers find that at least one of the steps forces them to work from a non-talent.

     The third way a strengths profile could help is with interview strategies. All of the profiles I mentioned will help you understand other people better and that's a very useful thing on a job interview. Most people communicate easiest with those who possess a similar style. Matching pace, detail and warmth or expressiveness can really help build rapport.
DISC may prove the most useful on this job search step because at an introductory level everyone fits into just 4 types. That makes it easier to get your mind around and use it in an interview. The 4 Types are "D" for Directing or Dominance. "I" for Interacting or Influence. "S" for Steady or Stable. And "C" for Careful or Conscientious.

     Behaviorally, High "I's" and High "D's" usually prefer shorter answers with less detail and a faster pace. If your interview is a dominant "S" or "C" they will tend to talk slower and give you more details. This is an invitation to do the same.
High "D's" and High "C's" tend to be cooler and less emotive. High "I's" and "S's" tend to be warm and friendly. Just knowing this can help you avoid fear, discouragement or offense when interviewing with a cooler type.

     For most people this can be a lot to remember in an interview. But if you can just remember to match the interviewers rate of speech, that can help your chances of building rapport and getting the job.

     For more information or help with a job search or career development go to: or

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