“There are a number of things I do well. Three of those are [strength], [strength], and [strength]. Which one would you prefer I talk about first?”
After telling a story that illustrates his or her effectiveness using the strength the interviewer has asked to hear about, the interviewee can ask the interviewer if that’s the kind of information he or she is looking for. Then the interviewee can offer to elaborate on the other strengths.Objective vs. Subjective Strengths AssessmentYou may be aware of other assessments that help people identify strengths. The best known is StrengthsFinder 2.0, developed by the Gallup organization. With the purchase of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0, users get a code that enables them to access the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. Where StrengthsFinder 2.0 is an objective assessment, DSAP is subjective.”The main difference between Dependable Strengths and StrengthsFinder 2.0 is that Dependable Strengths are generated based on people’s memories of life experiences and to which they’re emotionally connected,” said Dependable Strengths facilitator Carmen Croonquist when interviewed by career coach Nancy Branton, “whereas, the StrengthsFinder 2.0 provides test takers with data on their top natural talents and provides them with further information to confirm them,” Croonquist said.Jerald Forster, director of the Dependable Strengths Project at the University of Washington, completed both the DSAP and StrengthsFinder 2.0 and compared them in a paper to be published in the Proceedings of The XVIIIth International Congress on Personal Construct Psychology. “The meanings of these two sets of descriptors of my primary strengths were quite different for me,” Forster wrote. “The objective strengths [from StrengthsFinder 2.0] had little experiential meaning for me… In contrast, I had a number of personal experiences that I could relate to each of the strengths articulated while participating in the DSAP,” he noted.Forster acknowledges some advantages to the objective approach and suggests that individuals experience both the subjective Dependable Strengths Articulation Process and an objective assessment such as StrengthsFinder 2.0.Attending a Dependable Strengths Articulation Process WorkshopTo say that I recommend the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process is a vast understatement. The self-knowledge you can gain and apply to your life and career is invaluable. To learn more about research that has shown the effectiveness of the process, you can check out this portion of the DSAP Website. So, where can you find a workshop? Many social-service and workforce-development agencies offer workshops given by trained facilitators, as do educational institutions. For assistance in finding a workshop for yourself or for professionals who want to become a Dependable Strengths Instructor go to this portion of the DSAP Website. Fees for workshops vary.An Online Version of Dependable StrengthsAlthough a DSAP workshop in which participants can experience the supportive group process is the ideal, not everyone has 18 hours to devote to a workshop. Those who’d like an alternative to the workshop can access Dependable Strengths for the Internet right here through Quintessential Careers for $24.49. In the Internet version, users go through six steps not unlike the steps in the workshop process:
- Identifying many past good experiences
- Selecting the top four good experiences
- Completing the Strengths Chart
- Identifying the Top Strengths
- Determining a Career Pathway using the Top Strengths
- Selecting occupations from that Career Pathway
The system stores users’ data, so they can return to their work for further exploration or to make changes. The length of time to go through the process in the Internet version will vary by user, and the process can be time-consuming, but since the system stores data, the assessment does not need to be completed in one sitting. Based on my having experienced the workshop, I would recommend that the more users put into the process, the more they will gain.
Final Thoughts on Dependable Strengths
Inherent in the Dependable Strengths approach is the belief that deep within each person is a unique form of excellence. That’s a very powerful idea. If you are not using your best strengths, you will probably not be happy in your work. A process that helps you articulate those strengths can help ensure that you are performing work you will truly enjoy. As the DSAP Website notes, Dependable Strengths is “a process proven to help people improve their quality of life through meaningful work.”
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.