Learn About Yourself

Values

Values are a set of principles that motivate every decision you make. Values originate from a variety of sources, including families, personal experiences, and cultural context. Clarifying your values and understanding how they connect to various work environments will help you identify meaningful work.

Download a values exercise. (PDF, 32 KB)

Interests

Consider your interests in a variety of contexts–recreational, professional, and academic. What do you like to do for fun? What was your favorite summer job or volunteer activity? What classes do you seek out when creating your schedule? All of these are related to your interests and may be relevant when thinking about potential careers. Try the following exercise to help clarify your interests.

Download a career and major interest game. (PDF, 64 KB)

Skills

Many of the skills you have acquired over the course of your life – from jobs, internships, classes, hobbies, volunteer experiences, sports, almost anything – are transferable to the world of work. Understanding and articulating your skills is an essential part of developing a career plan, writing cover letters, and interviewing with employers. The following exercise will help you recognize your transferable skills.

Download a skills exercise. (PDF, 76 KB)

Personality

Personality refers to your inherent traits, including the way you like to gather information, make decisions, work with others, and organize your everyday life. Just as most people have a preference for right-handedness or left-handedness, they also have a favorite way of organizing information and making decisions. When you understand your personality, you can make career decisions that suit you.

Download a personality exercise. (PDF, 60 KB)

People, Places, Experiences and how they Influence Us

In addition to being aware of your individual preferences and traits, it is useful to understand how outside factors influence your career decisions. Taking the time to understand how you've been influenced by family, friends, coursework, volunteer experiences, teachers, cultural context, and more can lead to greater self-awareness. Similarly, considering the environment in which you were raised can also provide clues about what is most important to you and why.

Download an exercise to help you examine family influences. (PDF, 160 KB)
Download a brief discussion and an exercise about planned happenstance. (PDF, 64 KB)