Activities and Exercises

For a list of activities and exercises relevant to how you interact with students please choose a resource category from the drop down menu below. Please note that some of the activities may provide instructions/faciltiation notes that refer to use in the classroom or some other specific setting (i.e. career). Many of these activities have been categorized more broadly because they can be easily adapted to fit other settings. Please also note that many of these activities will require you to authenticate using your x.500 while some are available to the general public.

Three specific resources are highlighted below that are especially helpful in 1:1 sessions with students.

If you have strengths activities that you have developed and you are willing to share, please email them, with facilitation notes included, to strengths@umn.edu.

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Please select a category to view the available resources

Career

  • This document contains 60 different ideas for Strengths-based activities you could use with students. The majority of these activities work best in group situations versus 1:1 situation such as advising or career counseling/ coaching. The activities can take as little as 60 seconds or up to 60 minutes to complete.

  • Academic Action Items
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    In this activity, students continue to move from reflection and evaluation to application and apply theme-specific strategies to achieve academic success. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Academic Action Items II
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    This activity asks student to look at all the academic action items rather than focusing on the specific sections. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Career Action Items
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    This exercise helps students apply theme-specific strategies to career planning.

  • Career Exploration Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Career Exploration' video or on its own to use your Strengths to explore careers.

  • Career Interview
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    Ask your students to identify a job or career that they have an interest in, then evaluate their career goals in light of their talents and strengths, as well as other personal qualities and external considerations. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Creating Your Personal Brand
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    This activity helps students use strengths to create their personal brand statement which they can use in resumes, cover letter, interviewing, and their elevator pitch.

  • Degrees of Talent/ Owning My Strengths
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    This activity asks students to recognize the personal difficulties associated with affirming their own themes of talent.

  • Get Engaged (On & Off Campus) Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Get Engaged' Video or on its own to learn more about ways to use your Top 5 to find engagement opportunities that are a good fit for you!

  • Holland Code Analysis
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    Ask your students to take the Self-Directed Search, Strong Interest Inventory, or another assessment that utilizes the Holland Code type indicators. Use these results to connect to their strengths.

  • I Do it With Ease
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    In this activity, students begin to move from reflection and evaluation to application and apply theme-specific strategies to achieve academic success.

  • Intensify Strength
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    This activity will help students begin to actively develop their talent.

  • Interviewing From a Strengths Perspective
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    In this activity students, prepare to take job interviews from a strengths-based perspective. Remember, we are never so strong as we are when we have our strengths and successes clearly in mind. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Job Analysis
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    This exercise asks students to relate talent themes to specific occupations. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Job Searching Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Job Searching' video or on its own to find ways to use Strengths in your resume, cover letter, interviewing, job search, and elevator pitch.

  • Join the Club
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    This activity assists students in evaluating academic and cocurricular opportunities in light of their talents and strengths. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Major Exploration Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Major Exploration' video or on its own to learn more about how to use your Strengths during the major exploration process.

  • Making the Most of Your Engagement Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Making the Most of Your Engagement' video or on its own to find ways to use your Strengths to lead stronger and get the most out of your engagement on and off campus.

  • NACADA Academic Advising for Student Retention and Persistence: A Strengths Development Approach
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    "A Strengths Development Approach" Webinar handout. This activity will be discussed during the broadcast, and if possible, Webinar participants are encouraged to spend a few minutes considering the possibilities for their own lives.

  • One Key Question
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    Describe the concept of person-environment fit/calling as it pertains to career planning and strengths. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Reawakening your Professional Passion by using Strengths in the Workplace: Reflection and Action Plan
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    This series of reflection questions allow you to reflect upon your current job and how you use your strengths currently and how you can find ways to use your strengths even more every day.

  • Secret of My Success
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    This activity asks students to identify examples of how their themes of talent have contributed to past success.

  • Signature Themes Grid: Career Version
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    This grid helps students think about how to explain strengths in their own words and how they can convey what their strengths are to an employer through their resume and cover letter. This same exercise would be helpful to use with preparing for an interview, simply change the last column to say "how could you explain this strength to an employer in an interview?"

  • STARS (Situation, Task, Action, Result, Strength)
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    We’ve all heard of the STAR method of interviewing before – it is a great tool to use during an interview. However, there is one thing missing. STAR doesn’t leave room to talk about your Strengths and Talents – your ability to provide natural and near-perfect performance. Use the STARS method to answer behavioral based questions. STARS stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result, Strength. It’s a new twist on a classic method.

  • Strengths Based Cover Letter (example)
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    This Cover Letter demonstrates how someone can incorporate their strengths by providing examples, rather then using StrengthsFinder langague, to market themselves effectively to an employer.

  • Strengths Based Resume
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    This Resume demonstrates how someone can incorporate their strengths by providing examples, rather then using StrengthsFinder langague, to market themselves effectively to an employer.

  • Strengths Presentation Assignment
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    This assignment was created for an ESL course at the U of M, but it could be adapted for many different types of courses. Students create a presentation about how they will use their strengths in their college experience or career, or they can discuss how their culture views strengths and how this has impacted the development of their own top 5.

  • Strengths-Based Cover Letter
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    This exercise asks students to apply theme-specific strategies as a part of the career-exploration process. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Talent Development
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    In this activity, students are asked to consciously create a strategy to develop one of their Signature Themes. It is imperative that the instructor provide students with timely feedback concerning their efforts to develop their talents.

  • Talent, Theme, and Strength
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    This activity helps students understand and develop a common language in which they can discuss natural talents and the development and application of strength.

  • Talent-Based Studying
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    In this activity, students continue to move from reflection and evaluation to application and appreciate the role their talents and strengths play in making them their own best educator and learner.

  • Themes in Professions
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    This exercise asks students to relate talent themes to specific occupations. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Top 5 Tips for Your Top 5: Career Fair
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    Students identify what leadership domain their strengths fall into and then 5 tips are provided for how to use their strengths to be successful during the career fair.

  • Using your Strengths in the Job Search, Interview, and New Position
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    This guide gives tips for how to apply each strength in a job search, an interview, and a new position