Anyone knows a nurse works well under pressure and can multitask with ease, but when you're a nurse looking for a job, you can't assume potential employers know anything at all about you.
Even if you have great experience and a solid work history, a potential employer wants to know how your skills will help their organization, and they can't learn that unless you can explain it to them.
A simple skills assessment, which many nurses use when contemplating the next education or career move, brings your abilities into sharp focus. Once you're able to identify your competencies, you can clearly explain your strengths to a recruiter or a talent management representative.
Self assessment is actually a great tool for all nurses to use periodically. As part of your assessment, spend time in honest self reflection on your career, your successes, your failures (we all have them!), and your goals so you have a clear picture of who you are as a nurse and what you have to offer.
Why bother with self assessment when you have so many other things to do?
Well, you probably have areas where you're especially strong and don't even realize how those strengths can help if you're looking for a job. It helps to showcase how much your experience will make you the most successful candidate.
There are several kinds of self assessments, so you can focus on specific areas if you want. If you can verbalize your special capabilities, you will be a step ahead of many applicants. Learning you have above average leadership or technical skills brings a focus to your career path and your future goals and helps you highlight that in a job interview.
If you're in the middle of a job search (or even contemplating beginning one), a self assessment of your skills is a way to find out your weak points as well. Sometimes, a self assessment can reveal a bias you weren't aware of or can highlight where you can benefit from additional training. If there are places where you need improvement or where you want to improve, finding those points now is better than being surprised during an interview when your weakness becomes obvious.
With self assessment results, you can get started making changes and at least be able to frame areas that need improving in a positive manner.
You can find plenty of online self assessment tools and tests. Because you stand to gain so much from your assessment, answering with total honesty is essential because your answers give you a clear picture of where you stand professionally.
If you have a trusted mentor or colleague, asking for their input can also help you formulate a whole picture of where you excel and where you need improvement. Ask for feedback and interpret the feedback for what it is – a chance to learn more. If your colleague says you need direction managing your unit, ask what he or she thinks will help. If your mentor thinks your educational path is leading you in the right direction, ask how you can continue using those skills to best benefit both you and your organization.
Whether you're currently looking for a new position or happy where you are, a fresh perspective of your capabilities gives you a confidence boost. You'll have a clearer idea of where your skills make you a better nurse, and if you find other things might be holding you back, you can take steps to fix them.
Think of self assessment as a career tune up – it's worth the time and effort now to give you long-term success.