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Understand Your Interests

You probably have all kinds of interests. If you can match these interests to the job you have or want, you’ll enjoy your work a lot more.


You may be keen on sports or music or the arts. But when it comes to occupational interests, it’s more about the way you like to work. For example, do you like to be in charge or work in a group? Do you prefer to follow standards or work things out by experimenting?

Once you know which interests you have, you can narrow down your education and training choices—and focus on the kinds of jobs where having those interests is an asset.

Here’s a tool that will help you explore your interests:

The Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI)

The CWPI breaks down occupational interests into 5 categories. It is used in the Government of Canada’s Career Handbook and here on alis to identify occupations that people with different interests are likely to enjoy.

Discover which of these interests you have and how you can apply them to different occupations:

1. Directive (or take-charge) interest

People with a directive interest like to:

  • Take charge
  • Be responsible for projects
  • Plan, make decisions, and coordinate the work of others
  • Organize their own activities
  • Manage others
  • Give directions and instructions
  • Feel independent

They likely express these skills, values, and traits:

  • Skills—leading, persuading, motivating, communicating, selling
  • Values—independence, money, power, decision making, contact with people
  • Traits—decisive, self-confident, risk-taking, sociable

And you’ll often find them in these types of work settings:

For example, retail store managers are interested in coordinating information so they can direct and evaluate the operation of their stores. They hire or oversee staff recruitment, manage staff, and assign duties.

Dietitians also like to take charge. They gather and develop educational materials for various audiences. They are also interested in planning, evaluating, and conducting nutrition education programs.

Other examples of occupations that may work well for people with this interest include chef, conservation officer, and health service administrator.

2. Innovative (or creative) interest

People with an innovative interest like to:

  • Explore things in depth
  • Find solutions by experimenting
  • Create different ways to solve problems or present information
  • Be challenged with new or surprising experiences
  • Deal with scientific subjects
  • Deal with change
  • Work with ideas
  • Express themselves through their work

They likely express these skills, values, and traits:

  • Skills—creating, inventing, performing, designing, decorating, using senses, risk-taking, reading
  • Values—freedom of time, unstructured situations, trust in own mind, body, and feelings
  • Traits—artistic, musical, independent, imaginative, expressive, able to work alone

And you’ll often find them in these types of work settings:

An information systems consultant needs an interest in innovation to analyze information to design and develop systems that will help businesses achieve their goals. Emergency medical personnel also need to be innovative when assessing and treating trauma, overdose, and poisoning victims, and other ill or injured people.

Other examples of occupations that may be a good fit for people with this interest include land surveyor, illustrator, and drafting technician.

3. Methodical (or logical) interest

People with a methodical interest like to:

  • Have clear rules
  • Be organized in their activities
  • Work under the direction of others
  • Work with clear instructions or well-understood procedures
  • Work on 1 thing until it’s done
  • Follow a routine
  • Avoid surprises in their work
  • Work with data and details

They likely express these skills, values, and traits:

  • SkillsKeeping records, thinking logically, noticing details, working with numbers, using office equipment and computers
  • ValuesSecurity, order, neatness
  • TraitsPrecise, stable, organized, good at finishing tasks, good with words

And you’ll often find them in these types of work settings:

Nursery operators like to coordinate information to logically organize nursery and greenhouse operations. They need to order materials such as fertilizer, garden and lawn care equipment, and other nursery needs.

Biomedical engineering technologists look after medical, biomedical, and other electronic equipment and systems. They express their methodical interest when conducting and supervising the installation and operation of medical equipment such as diagnostic imaging equipment.

Other examples of occupations that may work well for people with this interest include auditor and data administrator.

4. Objective (or hands-on) interest

People with an objective interest like to:

  • Work with their hands
  • Work with tools, equipment, instruments, and machinery
  • Make or repair things
  • Follow standards and use approved methods
  • Find out how things are built and how they work

They likely express these skills, values, and traits:

  • Skills—operating or maintaining equipment, constructing, working with numbers, mechanics
  • Values—seeing results of work, stability, creativity, a challenge
  • Traits—independent, able to work alone, precise

And you’ll often find them in these types of work settings:

Carpenters are interested in using measuring tools to prepare layouts that conform to building codes, just as dentists are interested in using dental and surgical instruments for precision work.

Other examples of occupations that may suit people with this interest include farm worker or technician, locksmith, and makeup artist.

5. Social (or people-person) interest

People with a social interest like to:

  • Deal with and care for other people
  • Help other people figure out what they need
  • Help solve other people’s problems
  • Work and co-operate with others

They likely express these skills, values, and traits:

  • Skillslistening, communicating, helping, leading, teaching
  • Valuesbeing helpful, doing something worthwhile, variety, being co-operative
  • Traitstrusting of personal feelings, understanding of other people, responsible, compassionate, creative

And you’ll often find them in these types of work settings:

Barbers and hairstylists are interested in serving clients by cutting and styling their hair and performing related services. They may also train and supervise other stylists, apprentices, and helpers. Chiropractors like to mentor patients by advising them about corrective exercises, posture, lifestyle, and nutrition.

Other examples of occupations for people with this interest include tour guide, bus driver, and human resources professional

Use your interest scores to explore your career options

After you have finished the CAREERinsite Interests Exercise, you’ll have a list of your top interests and some occupations that relate to them. This list will help you plan your education and training and find work that will let you explore your interests. You can share the results of this exercise with your career counsellor.

Explore the recommended occupations to learn how your interests are reflected in the day-to-day work. Each occupation will list the top 3 interests and describe how they are applied. Schedule informational interviews with people in your network who are in these occupations to find out more.

Recognizing and following your interests will help you find occupations you are likely to enjoy—and liking what you do is an important key to success.

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