10 Ways to Excel in Your Job Search Using CliftonStrengths

My Personal CliftonStrengths Results, prepared by Gallup.

My Personal CliftonStrengths Results, prepared by Gallup.

You may be wondering, what is CliftonStrengths? Most simply, it’s a talent assessment you take online. Gallup, the assessment administrator, says the results provide you an overview of what you naturally do best, guide you on how to develop your greatest talents, and use the results to live a great life.

According to Gallup, people who use their CliftonStrengths are more engaged and productive at work and 3x more likely than others to have an excellent quality of life. What does that mean?

Gallup says that assessment takers gain a “greater self-awareness and a new language for understanding and discussing what they naturally do best, people who know and use their CliftonStrengths are more likely to:

  • be confident

  • feel happy and energetic

  • achieve goals

  • be treated with respect.”

What are the CliftonStrengths Domains?

CliftonStrengths reports results within four domains:

  1. Strategic Thinking: People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes help teams consider what could be. They absorb and analyze information that can inform better decisions.

  2. Influencing: People with dominant Influencing themes know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure the team is heard.

  3. Relationship Building: People with dominant Relationship Building themes have the ability to build strong relationships that can hold a team together and make the team greater than the sum of its parts.

  4. Executing: People with dominant Executing themes know how to make things happen.

What do the CliftonStrengths Results Mean?

Chances are, you’re talents include a number of strengths that are dominant in particular domains. As you can see from my results, my Top 5 is dominant in relationship building themes, and my Top 10 expands out to include strategy and execution related themes. In general, the influencing themes are hard to come by for me! It doesn’t necessarily mean I am “bad” at doing those things…it means that it takes a lot of mental energy for me to do those, and the other themes toward the bottom of my list, well on a consistent basis.

As a Career Coach, I use CliftonStrengths with every one of my clients because I believe it provides the best insight for professionals ready for a job transition, and allows professionals to create a strategic and effective job search strategy.

CliftonStrengths is a powerful tool that provides opportunities for you to communicate clearly and confidently throughout your job transition. 

10 Ways to Excel in Your Job Search Using CliftonStrengths

Here are just a few ways you can incorporate CliftonStrengths into your process! 

  1. Use the terms in “The Role I Play” for your Top 10 to consider functional roles you could play in an organization. 

  2. Evaluate job posting against your Top 10 to determine how much of the job is likely to be in your strengths zone. 

  3. Review your Bottom 5 to understand functional roles and the types of activities  you should avoid. Check these against job descriptions you consider.

  4. Use the statements in “The Needs I Have” for your Top 10 to create a checklist of ideal aspects of an organization’s culture that would suit you best.

  5. Use the statements in “The Value I Bring” for your Top 10 to incorporate strong and authentic personal descriptions into the closing statement of your cover letter.

  6. Use the CliftonStrengths Domains to make strong, broad statements about your professional contributions (e.g., I am a reliable professional who is strongly adept at relationship building. I can hold a team together and make the team greater than the sum of its parts). 

  7. Use the “Barrier Label” for your Top 10 to determine an area of professional growth or “weakness” that you would speak to in an interview. Using this approach, you will sound very self-aware and can easily turn it around into a strength!

  8. Use the statements in “The Value I Bring” for your Top 10 to answer interview questions about what makes you unique and sets you apart from other applicants.

  9. Ask follow up questions in interviews to understand how the culture will support your personal motivators and avoid triggering your demotivators. 

  10. Incorporate the statements in “The Value I Bring” for your Top 10 into the value-based case you make during your salary negotiation conversations.