Careers and Employability Service

What are your strengths?

Find your positive attributes


Your strengths are a mixture of your talents, knowledge and skills. The theory behind strengths is based on positive psychology: everyone has strengths they are born with but few people know what these are. By identifying your strengths and matching yourself to the role, you will enjoy it more and perform better that those who have to try hard to fill the role.

When you are using your strengths, you demonstrate flow.

When involved in flow activities:

  • you have a sense of energy and engagement;
  • you often lose your sense of time because you are so engrossed in the task;
  • you rapidly learn new information and approaches;
  • you show high levels of performance;
  • you want to do things that use your strengths: even when you are tired or stressed.


Using your strengths focuses on doing more of what you are good at rather than what you are just capable of doing.

High achievers spend most of their time using their strengths. They focus on developing strengths and managing weaknesses. They may not have more strengths than the average individual, but they HAVE learned to utilise them better and to apply them to new situations.

The following test will help you to identify some of your key strengths.

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree


Designed and developed by Bruce Woodcock



Your scores can vary from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 16. Write them down for future reference. Now you have identified your key strengths, you can find out more about these below.





CAUTIOUSgreen turtle

Cautious individuals have a few deep friendships rather than many superficial relationships. They need to spend time alone and prefer one to one communication to large groups, preferring to listen rather than talk. They may be more self conscious and apprehensive in social situations and fear social judgement more, but they tend to have good judgment themselves and are often careful thinkers, spending a lot of time reflecting. They have enhanced responses to subtleties in the environment due to stronger cognitive processing of stimuli than is found in extrovert individuals. They are often good at solving problems.

A cautious nature is sometimes linked to introversion. Some people think that introversion is negative but here are some introverts who rather counteract this suggestion: Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Clint Eastwood, Albert Einstein, Grace Kelly, Henry Ford, Isaac Newton, and Johnny Depp!

Cautious people don't like to take risks, taking care when making decisions, considering all the consequences, and carefully considering what they do or say. Cautious people tend to make better parents having a better long-term memory, allowing them to assess risks more effectively than bolder people. Studies by Daniel Nettle (Newcastle University) suggest that although cautious individuals tend to have fewer sexual partners than extroverts, they are less likely to be in hospital due to accidents or illness. Introverts are more likely to be successful CEOs 

They often do very well in finance and law e.g. solicitor, legal executiveaccountantair traffic controllerinsurance underwriterpublishing editoractuarymedically-related jobs such as doctornurse and occupational therapist


These are very sociable types; they like large groups and are talkative, gregarious, and extrovert

They tend to be impulsive, acting first, and thinking later, thinking on their feet and making quick decisions. Excitable, they seek new sensations, enjoying variety and change in relationships. They are usually cheerful and optimistic and assertive.

They are often active, doing lots of sport and exercise but are also more likely to smoke and drink.

INTERESTING FACT: People tend to become more outgoing as they grow older.

Jobs for outgoing types include salesmarketingbarristermanagement consultantadvertisingmediajournalistsocial workerevents manager, and PR



Caring individuals are kind, generous and compassionate. They have a high capacity to give altruistic love and be loved, to give and accept feelings and emotions.

They like helping others and taking care of them, often thinking about the needs of others more than their own needs. They value close relations in particular those where sharing and caring are reciprocated.

Naturally sensitive to people needs and reactions, they instinctively employ personal feelings and consider the impact on others when they have to make decisions.

They are unsettled by conflict, hating disharmony.

They are often found in the helping careerssocial workyouth workcareers guidancecounsellingteaching, and nursing.


Creatives are full of ideas. They are original, ingenious and quick to find new perspectives. They are good at thinking of novel and productive ways to do things and introduce new ideas to groups in which they work. They frequently enjoy creating art, music, writing or acting, but may show creativity in other ways, such as designing computer games.

Jobs for creative types include journalistTV produceradvertising account manager and copywriterpublishing editormultimedia designerradio station assistant.

See our page on lateral thinking for more about this.



People with this attribute have the ability to soar above problems like an eagle or a helicopter and see the whole picture in perspective. They are good at seeing patterns in complex data: identifying the key points in complex information. They are usually good at putting things in perspective and finding the links between seemingly unconnected information. They have the ability to ignore the superficial and irrelevant and focus on what is of real import. They are good at looking at a range of possible solutions and then narrowing these down to the best one.

Because they like to focus on the bigger picture rather than fine detail and are more concerned with major issues than with details: this can sometimes be a weakness.

Careers where this strategic ability is invaluable include management consultancymarketingchartered accountancyarmed forces officer and higher level management jobs of all types.

See our page on problem solving for more on this.



Analytical individuals use facts and logic when making decisions. They prefer to use objective and critical analysis and are logical and rigorous in thought. They are excellent with data and good at evaluating competing proposals.

They are ruled by their head and not their heart and are not easily swayed by emotional arguments. They tend to be sceptical and sometimes can hurt others in this way, accepting conflict as a normal part of relationships with people.

Analytical types do well in finance (e.g. underwriting), scienceengineering, and computing.

See our page on decision making for more on this.



Goal orientated individuals take action to make things happen. They are doers more than thinkers with a constant need for achievement. They have lots of energy and work long hours.

They have clear destinations and set themselves specific and clearly defined goals. Getting things done quickly and efficiently is more important to them than getting them done perfectly. Getting the task completed successfully is the only thing of real importance.

They are impatient with delays and obstacles and become restless and discontented if they are doing nothing.

Careers where goal orientation is very important include: salesmarketingadvertisingproduction management and armed forces officer

See our page on time management for more about this.



These people plan things in advance before taking action. They are well organised individuals who are good at keeping to deadlines, indeed they work best and avoid stress when able to keep ahead of deadlines. They use targets, dates and standard routines to manage their lives. They often keep their work space tidy so that they can work efficiently.

Careers where planning and organising are very important include: logistics managerretail managerevents manageradvertising account managercharity fund-raiserpublishing editortraining managermarketing and librarian.

See our page on action planning for more about this



Determined people take pleasure in completing tasks and persevere to achieve whatever they are striving for. They work hard to reach their goals and tackle obstacles as they arise. They finish what they start. It is not about being a perfectionist and the goals they have tend to be realistic.

They are resilient, taking a positive attitude towards frustration and failure. They persevere when things are not working out and persist in a course of action in spite of obstacles.

They tend to be intrinsically motivated and do not need extrinsic rewards (money, prizes etc.) to help them achieve: research suggests such motivators do little to help us persevere over the long term.

Careers where determination and resilience are very important include: police officerenvironmental health officerestate agenttax inspectorbarristersellingretail managermarketingjournalist and charity fund-raiser.

See our page on determination for more about this.



Leaders consciously seek, and frequently obtain, leadership roles. They usually lead and coordinate the team effort. They are good at persuading people to their point of view. They stick up for their opinions and try to argue persuasively and with logic for them.

They have to be careful not to be confrontational, opinionated and to impose their views without consultation.

Careers where leadership skills are very important include: armed forces officerpolice officerretail managerproduction manager and hotel manager.

See our page on leadership skills for more about this.


Conscientious individuals have strong self control. They are responsible, diligent and usually somewhat cautious and slow to act.

They tend to plan in advance and focus on achieving their aims, focusing on goals and following things through to completion. Tend to feel guilty if they have not completed a task.

They are well organised, purposeful and determined. They may be perfectionists, punctual and tidy having an obsession for doing things right.

It can can be a drawback in jobs with lots of change: as these people persist with task rather than adapting to changing circumstances.

Careers where conscientiousness is very important include: lawaccountancypublic sector administration, and actuarial work.

Interesting facts:

  • People tend to become more conscientious as they grow older.
  • Conscientiousness is the best predictor of future job performance: it is linked to better motivation and task completion and also with work satisfaction.
  • Research has found that procrastination and impulsivity are genetically linked, suggesting that they stem from similar evolutionary origins. The traits are related to our ability to successfully pursue and juggle goals. Procrastination and impulsivity are therefore heritable. 

    See our page on personal styles for more on this.




Adaptable individuals are very adaptable and resourceful and like variety. They are good at multi-tasking (doing a number of tasks at once): juggling a number of balls at the same time. They are very flexible and comfortable about moving into action without a plan; planning on-the-go. Naturally tolerant of time pressure, they work best close to deadlines. They tend to avoid commitments which interfere with their flexibility, and freedom to do things. 

Adaptable people make good event managers and work well in advertisingthe media and sales.
Other careers requiring a lot of adaptability include barristerjournalistarts administratorhotel manager and management consultancy.

See our page on adaptability for more on this.



Cooperative individuals tend to be prepared to compromise their own ideas and Meerkatsviews to get on well with others. They naturally seek consensus and support and praise other team members. They try to keep relations between group members harmonious. they help others to find compromises between differing viewpoints.

They don't normally like competitive situations.

Almost every graduate level job requires this, but careers where cooperating are very important include public sector managementteachinghealth care jobsmarketing and social work

See our page on team working for more on this.


Also see our strength-based interviews page



Careers and Employability Service - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7ND, T: +44 (0)1227 764000 ext. 3299

Last Updated: 03/04/2019