There is an art to finding satisfying work and it begins with knowing yourself. In career development circles, it’s called  self-assessment. Conducting a self-assessment will help you to define your skills, values and interests.

These elements can provide a picture of:

  • what you are good at
  • the things that are important to you
  • what you enjoy doing.

If you are clear about your values, and know  what you are good at and enjoy doing,  you can  research jobs and work environments that are likely to suit your unique personality, talents and interests.

You are then in a position to  identify a suitable direction, set goals and make effective decisions that will take where you want to go.

How to assess yourself

Self-assessment involves reflecting on your everyday activities and ideas  to gain an understanding of your strengths, preferences and personality.  It can be as formal as taking a personality or interest inventory, or as informal as talking to friends and family about your work and life experiences, and what you like doing . You might also want to draw on a mentor, career counsellor or other advisor as you work through what you discover and put your knowledge into action.

Values and interests are a very good starting point.

You’ll find some self-assessment activities  at  MyFuture and Graduate Careers Australia

Skills

Employability skills are the non-technical skills and knowledge you need to get a job. (They’re also known  as generic skills, capabilities, enabling skills or key competencies.) They include skills like communication, self-management, problem solving and teamwork.

There are lots of ways to develop employability skills . You can look for opportunities at school, in the community, at work, and through hobbies and sport.
(Source: DEEWR)

Activity

Learn about employability skills

Read the Employability Skills Framework on pages 36-37 in the You and Your Career booklet to learn about the types of skills identified as important by employers.

Values

Our values affect every aspect of our lives. In our careers, they determine the work situations we prefer and find meaningful. We’re  unlikely to be satisfied or motivated to stay in a job (or career) for a  long time if it’s not aligned with our values.

Values can be defined as principles or qualities that are important to us. Some of our values, around things such as  love, beauty or religion are not  normally related to work.  Others,  such as security, prestige, power and helping others,  are vital in determining a fulfilling career path.

Of course, values change. The values you hold as a new graduate may not be the same as those you will have in 20 years. As a result, our jobs—and sometimes our careers—change too.

Activity

Determine your values

Read the job-related values listed on the National Career Development Week handout and rank them in order of importance.

Interests

Interests are things that you enjoy doing. Identifying your interests can help you define the ideas and pursuits that engage you, and are likely to be important in satisfying work. Being aware of your interests can  also help you to identify  industries or sectors that appeal to you. For example, if you spend your free time designing and making things it would make sense to explore creative fields that use these interests and natural talents. Not everyone chooses careers that are aligned with their interests though – some people prefer to balance paid work with the pursuit of other interests in their spare time.

Activities

Think about the following questions and write down your responses.
1. What do you enjoy doing?
2. What are you good at?
3. What motivates you?
4. What sort of personality do you have?
5. What really matters to you?

Analyse your responses.
• Are there any themes in your interests? What are they?
• What careers are associated with these interest areas?

Identify your interests 
Complete the online interest quiz from Job Outlook. The results categorise you according to your likes and dislikes, with each category listing a range of occupations that may suit your interests.