What Employers Want: Self-Awareness

While consciousness is being aware of one’s environment and body and lifestyle, selfawareness is the recognition of that awarenessSelfawareness is how an individual consciously knows and understands their own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

Self-awareness as a career competency means being able to identify, articulate, and promote one’s skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to personal growth and professional success.

Tips for Self-Awareness

  • Keep an open mind. When you can regulate your own emotional world, you can be attuned to others’ emotions. To be a successful leader, you have to be curious about new people and all they have to offer.
  • Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware individuals know their own strengths and weaknesses and can work from that space.
  • Stay focused. An important part of being a leader is making connections, but you can’t make those connections if you’re distracted. Train yourself to focus for long periods of time without getting sucked into social media, emails and other small distractions.
  • Set boundaries. A leader needs to have strong boundaries in place. Be warm toward others, but say no when you need to. Be serious about your work and your passions, and keep your boundaries firm to maintain the integrity of your goals and the work you put into them.  
  • Know your emotional triggers. Self-aware individuals can identify their emotions as they are happening. Don’t repress your emotions or deny their causes; instead, be able to bend and flex with them, and fully process them before communicating with others.
  • Embrace your intuition. Successful people trust their instincts and take the risks associated with them.
  • Practice self-discipline. Good leaders tend to be disciplined in every area of their life. It is a character trait that provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong leadership.

A new college graduate should be able to:

  • Identify areas of continual growth and pursue and apply feedback
  • Seek and embrace development opportunities
  • Professionally advocate for one self and others
  • Be mindful of other perspectives as it relates to your journey

A question that will put a spotlight on your self awareness sounds like this:

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

If you say you don’t have any weaknesses in an interview… you are lacking self -awareness! Everyone has weaknesses, and having the self awareness to address them and work on them shows maturity and growth. Here’s a way to answer this common interview question:

I would say my greatest strength is that I have excellent quantitative skills. Math is something that comes easily to me and I genuinely enjoy – and it’s one of the reasons I became a math/econ major. My greatest weakness is probably using Excel. I know I could be doing so much more with it. I taught myself how to do pivot tables and dashboards, but I really would love to learn more about the shortcuts and formulas so the process would go faster and I could be more efficient. I’m taking a free course on LinkedIn Learning to brush up, but having more opportunities to learn these skills would be fantastic.

Competencies Highlighted: Self-Awareness, Communication, Professionalism, Technology