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Developing Self-Awareness

Gaining a clear sense of who you are helps you develop career goals and strategies that are right for you

The process of self-exploration entails gaining deep understanding of your values, interests and motivations, skills, personality traits, and lifestyle preferences. The objective of self-exploration is to develop self-awareness - that is, understanding who you are, what is important to you, and what you are looking to achieve from your work.

Research shows that individuals who are self-aware make more compatible career choices, perform better and longer in their employment positions, and derive more satisfaction from work. Therefore, it is important that you master the self-exploration process. As you progress through your professional and personal life, your values, interests, skills, and preferences are likely to evolve.

Awareness of self and environment provides the framework that allows you to make career decisions that are right for you - that is, career decisions that provide compatibility between you and your work environment and, in so doing, minimize your risk of making career mistakes.


From a career management point of view, it is important to understand your values, interests, skills, personality, and lifestyle preferences. Use the exercises below to explore these topics. If you would like more contect before completing these exercises, download Chapter 3 (PDF) of Career Success: Navigating the New Work Environment.

Analyzing Past Experiences

Understanding your past can help you unlock your future. A great place to start the process of self-exploration is to reflect on how your life experiences have shaped you.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Clarifying Values

Identifying and understanding your personal values is a critical step in the self-exploration process that can help you find more satisfaction and fit in your work environment.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Identifying Interests and Motivations

Choosing a career that is compatible with your interests and motivations helps you find greater satisfaction in your work.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Understanding Skills

Skills are abilities or talents that you do (or don't) possess and that highlight your personal strengths and weaknesses.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Assessing Personality and Psychological Characteristics

Personality and behavioral traits - such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion, and openness to experience - can also impact overall job satisfaction.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Determining Lifestyle Preferences

Work/life balance is an important factor in career satisfaction.

Download this exercise (PDF)

Data Analysis and Career Implications

Download this exercise (PDF)