Self Awareness

If you understand what motivates you, it’s easier to choose jobs that will make you feel fulfilled. When we enjoy (or are good at) something, we are more likely to do it well, which may result in greater career success. To find out what drives you, ask yourself lots of questions and be as honest as you can in your responses. We all have our own perception of the kind of people we are - or would like to be. Our personalities can affect our choices and decisions in all areas of life, including our career. 

Your motivations and values have a strong impact on whether you might find a particular job or career fulfilling. Some employers even look for particular values in potential employees, so it’s helpful to become more aware of what drives you and gets you out of bed in the morning. 

Take some time to think about the following questions:

  • What are my interests? 
    Reflecting on your interests can help you to learn more about yourself, including the careers that suit you best.  
  • What’s my personality? 
    Knowing more about what kind of person you are can help you to decide what you want to do next.
  • What skills do I have? 
    The key to a successful application is your ability to reflect on what you have to offer, and explain how that matches the job requirements.
  • What are my values?
    Understanding what your personal values are and identifying those which are most important to you can help you achieve a satisfying balance in your life – inside and outside work.

Questions you could ask yourself

  • What do I like about my degree subject? (writing, learning, researching , being creative, team projects) 
  • What do I not enjoy? (lab work, pressure of deadlines, working alone)
  • What do I enjoy about my part-time job? (customer contact, solving problems) 
  • Is there a career or a particular person's job that I have always admired? (a friend, a family member or a role model in society) 
  • What are my preferred leisure activities? What does that say about what I enjoy doing? (helping others, co-ordinating people, team vs. individual games)

What am I good at? 

All jobs require a broad range of skills such as problem solving, communication, team-working and customer orientation. Specialist skills may be important in some roles. Understanding where your strengths lie could help you choose a job or career you would be particularly good at. 


  • What skills helped me attain my greatest achievements? (persistence, organisation, creativity) 
  • What makes me competent in my part-time job? (being organised, motivating others, team work, IT skills, working under pressure) 
  • What makes/made me successful in my studies? (researching skills, working under pressure, writing, visualising problems, co-ordinating team projects) 
  • What am I less confident/skilled in doing? (last minute working, shy about leading a group) 

Be as honest as you can - try to list those you really are good at rather than those you feel you should be good at. When you are happy with your list, look to see if there are any patterns or trends in your responses. Ask your friends and family what they think you do really well. Consider all the things you can do now that you couldn’t do many years ago - things you take for granted such as IT skills or language skills.  If they are honest and tactful, they may also be able to suggest areas that you need to improve. 

You could add ideas about: 

  • Work environment - outdoors, office, lab , community 
  • Variety - diverse tasks, people contact, places to work, experiencing change 
  • Skills used - communicating, planning, creativity, team working 
  • Location - working conditions, hours, pay 
  • Purpose - helping others, inventing new products or services, organising people, creating wealth 
  • Environment - considering, promoting, changing conservation issues 

When you have done this can you see any patterns or trends?  Do any career ideas spring from this?  

Next Step: Opportunity Awareness - exploring the job market.

Last modified: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 10:06