Learn About Yourself

You want to choose an occupation that fits your unique qualities -- your abilities, talents, needs, values, and interests -- and the life-style you want to live.

Knowing your "unique qualities" is not easy. Learning about yourself is a challenge for everyone. But, the clearer picture you have, the more likely you are to choose a satisfying career.

It is important to write your ideas down. You may find this difficult to do, many do. But, it will make a big difference in your self-understanding. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you do the exercises below. Make a folder to keep your notes and writings.

Here are eight strategies you will find helpful:

  1. Take tests or inventories that measure your abilities, interests, values, and personality. Write out your reactions to the results. The Career Key's career test is a good place to start, but you should try other valid tests. Learn about your personality and introversion and extroversion, following our tips for success.
  2. Look carefully at your achievements in school or at work to identify your abilities. If you are a student, for example, which subjects have you done well in, or not so well in? If you work, do the same analysis. What does this tell you about your abilities -- mechanical, verbal, numerical, artistic, and people skills? Be careful not to overlook, or leave out, your abilities. Looking over the 17 Foundation Skills will help you avoid doing this.
  3. Examine how you use your leisure time -- your hobbies, community projects, activities with social, political, or religious organizations. For each one, write down three headings: Abilities, Interests, and Values. And, under each heading write down your thoughts.
  4. Talk with a friend or family member who is a good listener.
  5. Talk with a professional counselor; learn about career counseling.
  6. Go to Identify Your Skills. There you will learn what the different types of skills are and how to identify those you have. The activities that are described are powerful; they are used by the top consulting firms in the country. You will find them well worth the effort.
  7. Write an autobiography and identify the themes that represent who you are.
  8. Write a personal mission statement. In it write: what you want to be, what you want to accomplish in life, and what values or principles you want to guide you.

For a printed copy, see "Advice and Actions For Making Smart Decisions" at the Store.