A Strength to WOO

By: Abby  [Futuristic|Woo|Communication|Responsibility|Relator]

This week, our CliftonStrengths for Students theme is: WOO.

WOO!

Not that WOO…

This strength theme is the one I get the most questions on. People never know what it stands for. Well, I am here to tell you! Winning Others Over.

CliftonStrengths for Students defines WOO as:

People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

List of strengths with WOO in green

WOO is my second strength, following Futuristic. I am an extrovert (this is a common theme for extroverts). I enjoy going to functions where I know I’ll have the opportunity to meet lots of people. It is fun for me to meet people and get to know who they are and explain who I am. I like making connections with people and I love fostering those on LinkedIn (see Zach’s post on LinkedIn).

I find importance in perception and always communicating my best self to people. It is said that a person with WOO, “can enter a crowd and know exactly what to do and when to do it.” I understand how to communicate with groups and people individually (my third strength is communication). WOOs are often leaders (I have lead and do lead many student organizations and teams). WOOs are said to be charming. Winning people over and making connections are really thrilling to me. I love networking, and I feel that is attributed to this strength.

WOO is a great theme (I might be biased) and if you have it, here are some things to consider:

  • Join clubs!
  • Get involved with class participation
  • Visit teachers during office hours to create relationships
  • Network with many professionals
  • Consider being an entertainer, a sales rep, an attorney, or a public relations professional

One final thought:

WOO’s don’t see strangers… Just friends they haven’t met yet. So drop a comment and say hello, friend!

Of Possible Interest:

Read Abby’s other posts

Individualization Makes You a Better Team Player

By: Annie [Woo | Communication | Significance | Focus | Individualization]

Individualization:

  • Do you view each person as a distinct, one-of-a-kind individual?
  • Do you naturally see how people who are different can work together well?
  • Do you know how to build productive teams because you can see the talents of people and structure groups that maximize those talents?

These are a few insights the authors of CliftonStrengths for Students offer to help you better understand your Individualization strength. You may relate to all three, or maybe just one, but the ability to see the unique qualities in the people around you can serve you well in many ways.

CliftonStrengths for Students - Individualization

Individualization is categorized under the Relationship Building Domain of Leadership Strength. Adapting your approach to individuals based on the characteristics you see in them is what makes you successful at building relationships with many different people.  This can benefit you when working on group projects, functioning in teams, and connecting with your friends and family. A common question in job interviews is to describe your strengths. I recently had an interview where I was asked just that. Knowing that teamwork is a key skill that employers are looking for, I was able to talk about individualization. I gave an example of how I have used this strength when working on a group project in one of my classes. Developing Individualization will set you apart from other candidates in your job search, and serve you well working on group projects throughout college and your career.

So, how can you apply individualization to your academics? The authors of the book make the following suggestions.

In general:

  • Observe the ways other people learn
  • Read about others
  • Watch those around you, pay attention to how your talents are similar and different
  • Learn about other cultures

Study Techniques:

  • Start a study group with people who have different talents and viewpoints
  • Take notes about what makes characters stand out in the novels you read
  • Notice how your learning style, study habits, writing style, and test-taking skills compare to your classmates to learn about the natural differences between people
  • Make a chart listing differences when reading about well-known people

Relationships:

  • Encourage those around you to be successful in their talents
  • Teach your friends and classmates to appreciate the differences in each other
  • Create a support system to find who might benefit from others’ insights

Class Selection:

  • Take classes about people, such as literature, sociology, or psychology courses
  • Enroll in discussion-based courses
  • Look for professors who let their students make choices about their learning

Extracurricular Activities

  • Be a mentor to your peers
  • Look for opportunities that allow you to meet people on an individual basis
  • Start a journal documenting your observations about different people
  • Write feature articles about people on campus for the school paper

Everyone incorporates their strengths into their lives differently, so pick and choose what is appropriate for you from this list. The key is that you continue to be aware of the people around you. Notice how their qualities differ from each other and differ from the qualities you possess. Being able to draw on the strengths of others will serve you well in all that you do in life.

Learn about the 33 other Strengths

Read Annie’s other posts

Everyday Communication

By: Justine [Harmony | Communication | Futuristic | Empathy | Achiever]

Think back to your last job interview. What were the questions that you seemed to struggle the most with?  Strengths and weaknesses are often inquired about by the interviewer because they want to know more about how you describe yourself and possibly how you fit into the company.  Although it seems to be one of the hardest interview answers to formulate, in this blog post I will focus on my strength of communication.

CliftonStrengths for Students - Communication

Last year when I began working in the Career & Internship Services office I took the CliftonStrengths for Students assessment for my first time and communication came up in my top 5 strengths, which personally I found to be surprising. I had never considered myself to be overly confident with speaking and similar to many others, I was also not a huge fan of public speaking. So as I reflected about how this strength fit into my life I began to realize that communication has always been a significant part of my life.

Communication is one of many universal skills that are key to success in any career field.  Although many people have different thoughts when explaining the role of communication, the truth is that it exists in many forms. Communication takes place between coworkers, supervisors, and of course, during presentations.  Nowadays communication can also involve technology through email, texting, and social media. Managing the different methods and means of communication can be overwhelming. Even with it being one of my top strengths, communication in the form of public speaking hasn’t ever been my favorite thing. Over the past year, I have been actively trying to develop this strength through class presentations, workshops through Career & Internship Services, and other endeavors with much success. It’s true that the more you practice a skill the easier it becomes.

It’s been over a year since my first encounter with StrengthsQuest revealing communication to me. Just recently I decided to revisit the assessment and after taking it a second time I found communication to be my number one strength within my top 5.  This was very inspiring to me. From a year ago not even realizing that communication was a strength, to practicing and fully embracing it over the past year, has now made it my number one asset! CliftonStrengths for Students is a very valuable tool that has helped me to not only realize strengths that I didn’t know I had but also has helped me focus on improving a strength that I will be able to use in any area of life.

Check out the 33 other Strengths

Read Justine’s other posts

Intellection: A Strength in Depth

By: Ashley  Achiever|Learner|Intellection|Relator|Empathy

As part of our office’s mission to help UMD students develop, evaluate, and implement their career plans we are going to, like Abby said in her post, cover all the strengths that StrengthsQuest offers. The CliftonStrengths for Students assessment is a career inventory assessment that figures out your top five strengths and relates them to your career plans. My signature themes include achiever, learner, intellection, relator, and empathy. I am going to focus on the intellection strength this time around.

List of strengths, intellection in green

When I took this assessment last year I was not surprised to see what my strengths were but I was surprised at how accurate I felt the assessment was. The definition of the intellection strength from the CliftonStrengths for Students website is: People especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions. 

I think this definition, though true, doesn’t quite explain what it means to be a person with intellection as one of their strengths, not to me anyways. In my mind, it means a person with this strength likes to have deeper conversations with people, in hopes of making a connection on an emotional level, which relates to my relator and empathy strengths. I often find myself talking to people about their beliefs in religion, science debates, or even which flavor ice cream they prefer. I think talking about things other than just what you did last weekend helps you get to know someone better.

If you have Intellection as one of your top 5 strengths, here are a few things you should think about when looking into careers that appeal to you:

  • Select work in which you can share ideas and pose questions. Avoid environments where you cannot challenge the status quo or where operating procedures are completely rigid.
  • Work in environments in which you can interact with colleagues and have philosophical debates
  • Think about the times in your life when you have felt best about your accomplishments. In your journal, write about what you did that contributed to those accomplishments and how you used your talents in each instance. Later, look for patterns in what you wrote.
  • Choose work that will challenge you intellectually. Talk to edi­tors, theologians, or philosophy professors on campus. Ask what their work is like.

I feel like this strength has helped me quite a bit in my life, by taking the time to get to know a person and making them think about their ideas and thoughts on a topic and then having them hear out your opinions really makes an impression on them. I attribute this strength to my connection with my high school counselor who helped me out a lot in figuring out what college I would be most happy with, as well as helping me get a study hall every trimester my senior year, which helped in getting a college essay or two finished. I also attribute this to even getting my job at Career & Internship Services, in relation to my achiever strength; I do feel that I left an impression on them after my interview. Which I think leaving an impression is always a good thing, especially when the time comes to find a job in the future, going to job fairs and having interviews, very often those who are remembered, get the position!

Like most positive things though I think that everything has its downside and the intellection strength definitely has one. I very often find it hard to carry on a “chit chat” conversation, which I do think is a necessary part of making new friends. So I do find it hard to make new friends but I hold on tight to the ones I have. So if you take the CliftonStrengths for Students assessment and are unsure how to use your results go on their website and explore, you would be surprised at how much information is on there!

Learn about the 33 other Strengths

Read Ashley’s other posts

Self-Assurance: Don’t Worry, I’ve Got My Back

By: Andrew [Achiever|Command|Focus|Strategic|Self-Assurance]

We have all had a person in our lives that we look to for advice and inspiration, but we are college students now. Does that mean our mentors have become obsolete? No. However, we can all take a look at ourselves and know that we are capable of being independent, self-reliable, and self-assured.

Self-Assurance is all about being confident in yourself and being confident about the daily decisions that you make. Further, decision-making does not intimidate someone who has this strength, even if the decision you come to is part of the minority. (Source)

List of strengths, Self-assurance in green

Surprisingly to myself, Self-Assurance is not even my top strength, it is my fifth. I have never been one that has been told to go do something and I have always been a self-motivated, independent person for a long time. My first “real” job was working at Taco Bell when I was 16. I had been 16 for a month and asked my parents if they could take me over to Taco Bell to apply for a job. By the end of May, I was working one day a week and one day every weekend. I felt that working was what I was supposed to do, no one told me to get a job, but I did not see the fun in sitting at home watching the summer pass by with minimal structure to it.

I really enjoyed this job, which reaffirms my Self-Assurance strength. My friends never made fun of me for the job I had, but they liked to poke fun at the fact that I was working fast food in a city where there were certainly more lucrative jobs to be found. Why work a higher paying job though? I lived with my parents, so no rent to be paid, no utilities, groceries were paid for, and so on and so forth. Clearly, money was never a factor in choosing this job, but working with great people and serving hundreds of people every day was a ton of fun. This entire point kind of comes back to the whole “do what you love and never work a day in your life” sayings. Never let others tell you what you like or why you should do something. You know you best, so choose for yourself.

Maybe you like to change what other people think, which is completely fine. Self-Assurance says that you can use your already solid beliefs to persuade and influence others, but do so with facts. We can all make stuff up off the top of our head, but persuasion is a strategic and calculated effort to tell others why you think you are right. If you are good at this, may I recommend being a salesperson to you?

Lastly, I will say that Self-Assurance is great for being a leader, but if you are reading this and are already self-assured, I probably did not just blow your mind with this statement. Self-Assurance is great for leaders because leaders have to make executive and final decisions, for better or for worse. Being self-assured allows one to get excited about their decision, but to also be able and ready to take any of the backlash of a bad decision.

If this did not sound like you, rest assured. There are 34 great strengths/talents in CliftonStrengths for Students, so come on down to our office at Career & Internship Services, SCC 22 (in the Wedge). We will get you all set-up to learn what your top five strengths are for only $15 (for current students & alumni), and you will get to meet with one of our counselors to go over your unique results.

Read about other 33 Strengths.

Check out Andrew’s other posts.

Restorative: A Strength in Problem Solving

By: Cody [Achiever | Adaptability | Futuristic | Includer | Restorative]

You have just taken the CliftonStrengths for Students assessment and found out one of your strengths is Restorative. If you are like me, you may be thinking, “What the heck is that?” or “Is restorative even a real word?” or “Am I supposed to be good at restoring things, like antiques?” First off, to be clear, it is not a made-up word (you can look it up in the dictionary) and you are close when thinking you are good at restoring things, you just need to think about it in a broader sense.

CliftonStrengths for Students - Restorative

Restorative means enjoying the challenge of analyzing problems, identifying what is wrong and then finding a solution to the problem. You enjoy discovering problems and feel a great sense of accomplishment once you solve those problems. The types of problems you prefer to solve, whether they are practical, personal, or conceptual, can depend on your other strengths and preferences. Knowing what types of problems you like to solve can help you apply it to your career goals.

Personally, I like to find useful solutions to practical problems. I think of practical problems as problems that occur in tasks that people do every day. For example, this past summer I had an internship at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. One day my boss was talking to me about the numerous spreadsheets and forms she had to sort through every week for the weekly audit meeting. I viewed this as a problem that had to have some sort of solution. So I spent the next few days designing and formatting a form that would compile all of the necessary information into one simple form. My boss loved the new form and still uses it today (I even got a free lunch out of the deal!). This is just one real-life example of how I have used my restorative strength to help me along my career path.

Now how do you apply this restorative strength to your career path?

First, I would research jobs and career paths that involve a lot of problem-solving. This may include interviewing various people from different jobs to see exactly what they do. Try to find jobs or career paths that tailor to your specific types of problems you like to solve, either practical, personal or conceptual. Secondly, once you land that perfect job, take the initiative to find problems and solve them. Search for problems around your office and try to devise creative solutions to solve them. This will definitely impress your boss and put you on the fast track to a promotion!

For a strength that most people do not understand at first, restorative can be a great asset for you on career journey. So go and embrace your inner restorativeness and achieve your dreams!

Take the CliftonStrengths for Students assessment through UMD Career & Internship Services

Read about the 33 other Strengths.

Read other posts by Cody

Adaptability: Be Open to What Comes to You

By: Ashlee [Adaptability | Futuristic | Empathy | Input | Ideation]

Before I graduated from college, I worked three part-time jobs, took on a full-time student course load, rehearsed for theatrical shows around 20 hours a week, plus time to hang out with my friends, travel to see my family, and if I was lucky, a little me-time.

How did I survive all the chaos to walk across that stage in May? It was during the last two years of my undergrad I recognized and started using one of my top strengths. Thanks to CliftonStrengths for Students, I present to you Adaptability.

CliftonStrengths for Students - Adaptability

 

Edward “Chip” Anderson, Ph.D., coauthor of CliftonStrengths for Students, defines adaptability as this: The genius of this perspective means that you can change and change quickly. Rather than being rigid, you are flexible; and rather than being tied to some pre-set plan, you can quickly change to meet immediate demands and circumstances that require attention.

Thankfully, I recognized through my experiences in several internships I needed a workplace that was constantly in motion. Sitting behind a computer? Chained to my desk? I don’t think so. In fact, whenever an employer used the term “fast-paced” and “no day is the same as the one before,” I feel my blood start to pump a little faster.

In my eyes, adaptability is being able to change yourself and be open to things, be it for personal or work-related reasons. A nice way of putting it is to “go with the flow.” For example, when I directed a show for UMD’s Stage II production company, I had to wear many different hats as director. I had to work with actors one minute, and the next, I’m speaking to my lighting designer about a new effect idea I’d like to try out during a particular scene. Immediately after that, I’m out in the rehearsal space with my actors because the blocking doesn’t feel quite right. Right after that, I’m being told our rehearsal schedule for the upcoming week is no longer going to work and we have to tweak it. Being adaptable allowed me to wear each respective hat with ease while still keeping the overall bigger picture in mind.

Adaptability has also come into play in my professional life in a more serious way. For instance, a new full-time job means changing my daily routine. There’s no sleeping in until 10 or 11am anymore. Every morning, I’m walking into my office ready to work by 8:00 am. I wasn’t even six months out of college, and I was making major changes compared to my lifestyle the past 5 years. Because of adaptability, I was able to recognize my need to hit the sack an hour or two earlier. I’m not waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every single morning (that’s what coffee is for!), but I am far more attentive than if I keep to my “college days” sleeping habits.

Sure, you tell yourself you’ll catch up on sleep over the weekend, but guess what? Sometimes you have to work *gasp* on the weekends! Just another adaptation you’ll make to the working world! It also helps to be adaptable when you can’t head out for lunch at your regular break time.

On a more serious note, a crazy and hectic work atmosphere isn’t ideal for everybody, but opening yourself up to being flexible is when great things happen. If a great project suddenly comes along or you’ve been dying to work with so-and-so, do it! I don’t care if your planner says you have yoga every other day at 5:00 pm. When the opportunities come across your desk, grasp them with both hands and run with it straight out the door.

I never really saw myself as a mini graphic designer of sorts until my boss asked me if I’d like to try my hand at it for an upcoming event we were promoting. I said yes, put lots of energy and thought into it, and I am now designing every invitation and brochure needed in our office, and I absolutely love that part of my job.

Be open and adapt to what comes at you. Sometimes you have to “go with the flow.”

Check out the 33 other Strengths.

Read Ashlee’s other posts