What Are You Good At?

By Katie Corbett

No one can achieve excellence in every skill. I’m a decent writer and am good with people, so I have come back to those skills again and again in the jobs I’ve held. According to Richard Koch’s book, “The 80/20 Principle,” 80 percent of the jobs you get will use 20 percent of your skills. Here are some questions to ask yourself when figuring out that 20 percent contributing to your success. Grab a blank sheet of paper or open a new document right now and write whatever comes to mind. This might be some of the most valuable time you spend in career planning.

• What activities have you enjoyed doing since childhood?
• Can you think of a way to monetize them?
• When looking at your work experience, what skills have you used in previous jobs?
• When you didn’t go to work because you were out sick or attending a workshop, what things didn’t get done?
• What do your friends, family and coworkers or teachers tell you you’re good at?
• Has anyone ever said “I’m glad you’re good at {insert thing here] because I would hate doing that.”?

From my personal experience, summarizing information has been something I have been good at and have enjoyed doing since childhood. I loved learning things and then telling my friends and family about it through writing, having conversations or giving presentations. I’m good at organizing information and presenting it in a way people will find interesting.

Many possible career paths presented themselves to me given this information. Teaching, writing, public speaking, coaching and tutoring are just a few options I have tried. I have most often picked writing and public speaking because other people hate doing those things so I am more likely to get paid to do them.

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