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Understand Your Interests

You probably have all kinds of interests. You may be keen on sports or music or the arts. When it comes to occupational interests, it’s more about the way you like to work. If you can match these interests to the job you have or want, you’ll enjoy your work a lot more.

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, as well as the kinds of jobs where having those interests is an asset.

Here’s one tool that helps 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 in which people with different interests are likely to enjoy.

Discover which of these interests apply to you and how they can be applied 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
  • Give directions and instructions
  • Feel independent

For example, retail store managers are interested in co-ordinating information so they can direct and evaluate the operation of their stores. They’ll hire or oversee staff recruitment, manage staff and assign duties. Dietitians also like to take charge. They’ll gather and develop educational materials for various audiences. They’re also interested in planning, evaluating and conducting nutrition education programs.

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

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 this kind of interest for assessing trauma victims, overdose and poisoning victims, and other ill or injured people to figure out emergency medical treatment.

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 one thing until it’s done
  • Follow a routine
  • Avoid surprises in their work

Nursery operators like to co-ordinate 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’re expressing their methodical interest when conducting and supervising the installation and operation of medical equipment such as diagnostic imaging.

4. Objective (or hands-on) interest

People with an objective interest like to:

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

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.

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 cooperate with others

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.

Use your interest scores to explore your career options

After you’ve 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’re applied. Schedule informational interviews with people in your network who are in these occupations to find out more.

Recognizing your occupational interests will help you know yourself and identify the kinds of jobs where you can use them. In doing so, you’ll enjoy your work and be more successful in you career.

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