When you create your 1st Gig profile, some sections are going to be easier to complete than others. For example, you’ll be asked for information that you can easily pull from your resume, such as information about your
- education, certifications and diplomas, military experience, and work experience;
- extracurricular activities;
- language fluencies;
- technical skills.
But other sections of the profile take a bit more thought, such as:
- Are you willing to relocate for a job?
- Are you willing to travel for work?
- Would you consider working remotely?
- What type and size of company do you want to work for?
However, the section of the profile that is likely to prove most challenging is the Attributes section. In this section, you will see a list of 39 personal attributes from which you can choose up to 15 that apply to you.
There are myriad ways to learn about yourself and your attributes, but one good way is to do an online aptitude test. If you search on the phrase “free online aptitude test,” you’ll be amazed at how many hits you get, and you may want to try several to see which ones give you similar responses so that you have confidence in the results. You may also be able to link to one or more from your college or university career center. (Please note that you should not need to create an account or provide your home address, social security number, or any financial information to use a legitimate free online aptitude test.)
While the results of these assessments often suggest specific careers, they can also give you some very good ideas about your personality that you may not have considered—or that you may be shy about promoting. For example, one test that I took recently suggested that I should consider a career in business, and the results of the test explained why: it said that I have a knack for problem solving and persuading others and that I am an analytical thinker who pays attention to detail. The first three traits easily translate into the following 1st Gig attributes (shown here with the descriptions you would see when reading the list of attributes):
A Problem Solver
Solves difficult problems with effective solutions; is resourceful and creative; asks good questions and probes all fruitful sources for answers; can see underlying or hidden problems and patterns; looks beyond the obvious.
Ability to influence decision making to build buy-in to an idea, an action, a product or service.
A Critical Thinker
Skillful at conceptualizing, interpreting; analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information; able to raise questions from data or communication; able to infer from and apply information.
While “attention to detail” can’t be found in those words on the 1st Gig list of attributes, the following attribute means the same thing:
Checks before acting; tries to understand the situation before making judgments; ties up loose ends; follows established processes.
Another way to think about your attributes is to look at the list and try to think of specific things you have done in your life that you could use to demonstrate how you have that attribute. If you can easily think of an example that shows you being assertive (“Is not afraid to take charge; faces difficult situations with guts and tenacity; shows strength despite resistance; comfortable leading”), then you should include that attribute in your profile. But if you have difficulty thinking of an example, then it’s probably not one to include.
A third way to think about your attributes is to talk with people who know you well—family and friends with whom you are close—and ask them to look at the list of attributes and help you decide which ones fit you best. As you talk with them, you will discover for yourself which ones you are comfortable with and which ones you can easily recognize as your own personal traits. Your family and friends can also help you think of examples to help demonstrate those attributes.
One final method for determining your attributes is to think back over positive feedback that you’ve received from teachers or employers. Did you earn praise from teachers for the way you revised papers? That might mean that you’re flexible (“Can effectively cope with change; open to new ideas; adapts to new situations and challenges.“). Did an internship supervisor appreciate the way that you asked questions about how to complete tasks appropriately? That might mean that you’re coachable (“Knows strengths, opportunities and limits; seeks feedback; is coachable and open to learning and growing as a person and as a professional.”).
The flip side to positive feedback is any negative feedback that you’ve encountered. If you haven’t done well with assigned classroom presentations, then you probably shouldn’t include Comfortable Presenting as one of your attributes.