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1: Get to Know Yourself

The first step in planning your career is to know what you value, your interests and the things you’re good at. It's time to get to know yourself.

This article is part of a series:

The more you know about what you value, what you’re interested in and what you’re good at, the more likely you’ll be to make effective choices about your career.

Consider the following questions to help you get a general sense of your career-related preferences. Record your answers:

  • What do you like to do?
  • What do you do well?
  • What are you proud of?
  • What makes work meaningful for you?
  • What motivates you at work?
  • What are your expectations from work?
  • What type of lifestyle do you want?
  • What skills do you have?
  • What work experience do you have?
  • What level of education do you have or would you be willing to get?
  • What kind of training do you have or would you be willing to get?

You probably know the answers to some of these questions, but you may not have thought about them in an organized way.

The Know Yourself section on CAREERinsite will help you do that. Create an account and save the results from self assessment quizzes in your personal career plan and print them. Work on your career plan whenever you want, and take as much time as you need. 

Visit Career Cruising (available through many local Alberta Works Centres or high schools). Career Cruising is a self-exploration and planning program that helps people of all ages achieve their potential in school, career and life. 

Your values

Your values are your standards or ideals. A satisfying career usually reflects your values. Which of the following values motivate you? What other values are important to you?

  • personal satisfaction
  • competition
  • variety
  • independence
  • money
  • prestige
  • security
  • making important decisions
  • being respected by others
  • having time to pursue other activities
  • learning new things
  • protecting the environment
  • creativity
  • belonging to a group
  • society

If you’re doing some career and education planning, identifying your work values will help you clarify your goals and move in a direction that will help you achieve them. 

Your interests 

Your interests are activities you do because you enjoy them. Interests capture your attention, arouse your curiosity and satisfy your need to accomplish things.

Identifying your work-related interests is an important part of career planning. You'll be more satisfied with your career direction if it includes activities that you enjoy.

Which of the following interests do you enjoy? Add other interests to the list:

  • solving problems
  • selling ideas or things to people
  • being physically active
  • working with facts
  • working with numbers
  • working with machinery or tools
  • helping people
  • using your imagination
  • building or fixing things
  • creating things
  • other

Use CAREERinsite Interests and Abilities Quizzes to help you. 

Your abilities 

Abilities are your natural strengths. They're the things that come easily to you, such as the things other people would say you have a talent for. Different occupations require different kinds of abilities. Identify all of your abilities, using these as some suggestions:

  • working with numbers
  • creating things and using your imagination
  • visualizing in 3 dimensions from a drawing or blueprint
  • listening, expressing feelings, working well with others
  • using and understanding words and ideas
  • performing physical tasks
  • noticing differences in details and recognizing errors
  • learning scientific and technical principles
  • creating or using systems to gather information
  • planning and developing projects, co-ordinating and handling details
  • understanding how things work and putting them together
  • other 

Your skills

Your skills are the activities you’ve learned to do well. Employability or transferable skills, such as communication, leadership and teamwork skills, are useful in most work situations. They are the skills you will continue to use throughout your career. Work-specific or technical skills, such as using a particular software program or operating a diesel engine, tend to be directly related to an occupation or workplace.

Your accomplishments are what you achieve when you use your skills.They're the highlights of your best experiences. To sell yourself to potential employers, you need to identify and describe your accomplishments.

Your traits

Your traits are the personal characteristics or self-management skills that you would bring to any occupation or workplace. Career options that emphasize your positive traits are likely to be good choices for you. Which of the following words describe you? Make a list of your traits:

  • accurate
  • curious
  • resourceful
  • versatile
  • outgoing
  • helpful
  • logical
  • self-confident
  • thorough
  • perceptive

Discover your personality types.

Your personal priorities 

What personal priorities are important to you and worth including in your career plan? Consider the following ideas and questions, and add some of your own:

  • Think about your school, work and volunteer experiences. What would you like to be the same, and what would you want to be different in the future?
  • What were your best subjects at school? Would you be willing to take some further education or training in those areas or in other areas?
  • What kind of environment do you like to work in? For example, do you prefer to be outdoors, near your home, in the city, with a small group of people, in a large organization?

To create your career plan, start by knowing yourself

Knowing yourself is the foundation of the career planning process. It helps you organize your thoughts about who you are, what’s important to you and what you want. When you know what’s unique about you and your experience, and what inspires you, you’re ready to explore possibilities and pursue promising career options.

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