Self-Awareness & Applications

Knowing yourself before you apply.

How can I learn about myself/my personality to prepare for an application?

So you’re getting ready to graduate. The pressure is on. What do I do? What am I good at? Who should I work for? Where should I work?

Before you answer those questions, my question for you is, how well do you know yourself? It’s a good exercise to think through your skills and talents as well as how you are wired. What’s it really like to be on the other side of you? This insight is significant for every relationship in your life and also as you consider the type of organisations to work for, the working practices that you like, the people you want to work with and whether your values align with those of the place you’d like to work.

A wise friend of mine says if you can work from your natural strengths for over 70% of your time, you will be energised and enjoy what you do, you will also cope with the 30% of tasks you don’t enjoy!

How do you find out how you’re wired or your natural strengths? There are numerous tests out there which will help you understand your personality. I’d highly recommend But, here’s a word of warning! Tests are a helpful starting point but you are a complex mixture of nature, nurture and choice. A test won’t accurately reflect your personality; it will describe your behaviour today. Your education, upbringing, friends and culture will have ‘taught’ you to respond in certain ways but is that your natural preference? ‘Experts’ in personality can help you understand your nature but if you can’t use an expert what else can you do?

I’d suggest you do a test but also talk to people you trust. Ask them how they experience you. Use it as an opportunity to become more self-aware. Pick a range of people and find out what it is they value you for? What traits do they most admire in you? What traits do they not like which might trip you up in later years?

As you begin to apply for jobs take all this learning and use it. For example, if you love being with people, don’t apply for a job where you’ll be on your own most of the day.

As a graduate, I learned that who I worked for was the most important criteria for me. Work for people who will shape your character, help you grow and develop, who inspire you and help you navigate the political landscape of work.

Knowing yourself is a gift that will set you up for your whole career and ensure that you are a leader that people will want to follow. As hard as it might be to hear the truth it will differentiate you from many others.