Assessments: Know Your Strengths and Abilities

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a 10-week blog series that discusses all aspects of the job search process.  The assessments piece is the second blog of the series.

Rob Taylor, the mentor of the careers group, just finished introducing Cece Davis to the other four mentees who meet weekly at the Rose Street Coffee House.   As the group shared the 10 elements of the job search process, Rob asked Cece what her career goals were.  Cece hesitated a bit and then replied I’m not 100% certain.

You see, Cece was in her mid-twenties and was recently downsized, as her company was laying-off employees.  Now she’s out of work and the prospects for securing another job at times seems like a pipe dream.  Sometimes the interviewer would tell her that she didn’t have the necessary experience.  Other times they told her that she had too much education and was over qualified.  And still, other times, she never even received a letter or phone call telling her she didn’t get the job.  She just assumed she didn’t because she never heard back from the potential employer after her interview.

Rob then asked, “Cece, what are the strengths you bring to an employer and what are your weaknesses?”  The group saw these questions coming a mile away as Rob always asks these same questions to all new members of the group.  As a former coach and athletic director, Rob wants to make sure that his mentees are well prepared for the job search process.

Cece thought for a moment and then replied, “I guess my strengths are my work ethic, college education, and my computer skills.”  “I’m not certain how to answer the question about my weaknesses.”   Rob then asked the group why do we need to identify our strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities?

Lizzie was the first to speak up and said, “We need to know our strengths and skills for four main reasons:

  • It helps us to write a cover letter that can really sell us
  • It helps us in answering interview questions
  • It provides us with confidence during the interview
  • It helps us in trying to influence the hiring decision after the interview.”

Steve jumped in and suggested that the only way to truly understand and know our strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities is by completing self-assessments.  These assessments become the foundation for every thing we do in the job search process.  He summed it up by offering that “a person shouldn’t begin applying for jobs until they have completed the assessment stage of the job search process.”  These thoughts made sense to Cece and her mission for the next week would be to complete the assessment worksheets from her career development book.

Next week’s blog will discuss the process of planning your career.  For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at or go to our website at  Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his latest book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at


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