Pursuit of happiness – Cultivate top talents and strengths

Great companies look for more than just IQ, grades, and diplomas for their human resource needs. Character and personality that align with the company vision have grown in importance. There is also now a wide range of evaluation and job interview techniques for recruitment as well as internal HR processes to retain talents when they are a cultural fit.

On the other side of the HR equation, recent graduates make career choices from a more macro perspective - learning opportunities, upward mobility, work-life balance, and a career that matches their school majors, soft skills and personality traits, etc.  

Entering the third decade of the century, both employers and applicants take a more holistic approach to career and personnel decisions.

Happiness is king – Finding your strengths and purpose

This may sound cheesy, but the truth is "happiness" has become imperative. Recruits strive for more than a decent paycheck. They want to do meaningful work. And companies prefer new blood that fits their culture and will be happy to stay long term. After all, high turnover is costly for businesses.

I have seen too many young professionals that are just a year or two out of school but are already frustrated with their current career paths. They have bounced around, making decisions based on the wrong criteria, and wasting everyone's time and resources.

Perhaps happiness doesn't fully describe this paradigm shift. It's about performing meaningful responsibilities and finding a fulfilling purpose that delivers "career happiness."

Pursuit of happiness – Leveraging your top talents

Identifying your strengths and interests will go a long way in your pursuit of happiness. World-renowned psychologist Martin Seligman proposed the "3 Levels of Happiness".

According to Seligman, we experience three kinds of happiness:

1) pleasure and gratification

2) embodiment of strengths and interest

3) meaning and purpose

Pleasure and gratification: These are the little pleasures in life. A delicious meal, a funny movie, or a great conversation with a close friend. Although they make you happy, this type of happiness is temporary. A few hours after that yummy burger, the joy will have dissipated.  

Strength and interest: This kind of happiness happens in situations where you get to use your strengths and talents. For example, you are a good artist and have been very interested in cars since childhood. You are then hired as a designer for a really cool automobile brand. Every day, you get to apply your top talents. This level of happiness is longer lasting and more fulfilling.  

Meaning and purpose: The third level is the ultimate. When you get to apply your strengths and talents, not just for your own gain, but for a higher calling, a greater good. For example, you get to design the latest green-energy vehicle, contributing to protecting our planet.

Transfer strengths and talents to soft skills

It's not difficult to identify your strength and talent. You've probably been praised for these qualities your entire lives. And you've probably noticed you have a neck for learning relevant knowledge and find yourself energized when performing related tasks.

How do you turn strengths and talents into a potential career? Here's the key. Begin developing your soft skills.

If you seem to have a natural charm for speaking in front of people, take courses on presentation, negotiation, and public speaking. Enjoy solving problems through logical and strategic thinking? How about learning more about Game Theory.

Are you a great artist? Sign up for design software courses or attain professional certifications on relevant topics.

This is how to prepare yourself to become a candidate for careers that propel you to level three of happiness — meaningful, fulfilling, and, most importantly, joyful.

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