Careers and Employability Centre

Your interests and motivations

This is an essential step in the career planning process and for many people the most difficult, raising a host of questions. How do I go about it? What criteria do I use? Who do I compare myself with?

There are three main criteria which are vital for career planning. A knowledge of your:

  • abilities and skills eg. problem solving, communicating
  • interests eg. the environment, music, sport
  • values eg. wanting to be successful, wanting to help others

In this process you are not necessarily making comparisons between yourself and others but intrapersonally. That is, looking at your range of skills and interests to see which are the more important. To do this you can review your previous experience to identify your particular interests and strengths. You can use a variety of questionnaires or computer assisted guidance systems. You can also ask other people for their impressions of your personality and values. Getting personal feedback of this kind may be reassuring, even surprising, and it will certainly be illuminating.

Self assessment tools to help define what’s important to you in work

Skills Inventory

Skills, talents, abilities. Most people choose careers consistent with their own ability profile. They are motivated to find the kind of work activities which they can do best. The aim of this Skills Profile is to help you assess which of your personal skills are the most important to you and to review the career implications of your skill profile. When you have completed your scores, you can see which group of occupations match your main skills.

Simply read through the following skills checklist and give yourself a score from 1 to 5 (1 = not at all like me, 5 = like me)

Careers Skills Checklist [PDF 128.72KB]

Interpreting Your Skills [PDF 65.39KB]

Skills Typically Developed at Sussex

You are developing and learning skills that are relevant to your life after university. Employers are interested in your development and they expect you to be able to articulate the changes which have happened to you since starting university.

Skills are transferable. If you have used a skill competently in one context you are likely to be able to use it in another. Having a clear idea about the skills you have developed at Sussex will help you identify work which will suit you and help you be more convincing at selection interviews.

Think of evidence to prove you have demonstrated these skills in a number of different areas of your life.

  • Academic course.
  • Extra-curricular activity.
  • Part time work.
  • Voluntary experience.
  • Family responsibilities.

All of these are valid pools of evidence. A part time job is important - even if you only did it to earn some money.

Another misconception is that employers will know exactly what you have done at university and you will not have to tell them. Not true. They want to hear you describe your experience. Don't risk leaving them to make assumptions about you.

Skills typically developed at Sussex [PDF 92.05KB]

Values Questionnaire

Our values and needs are likely to change over time. What seems important to you at this stage in your life may give way to other concerns later. However, it may be that your personal values are important to your career thinking now.

Values are about how you feel about things or what you think is important. They don’t influence your ability to do something but where you feel comfortable doing it. They may say something about the type of work you will find rewarding

Some types of work clearly fit with certain values. Some types of employer fit with certain values. Use the exercise below to help you think about your values.

My Work Values [PDF 91.40KB]

Work Values Score Sheet [PDF 64.98KB]

Career Interests Profile

This has been designed to help you assess your career interests and to identify the kind of career that might suit your needs.

To complete the Profile, simply rate each of the job activities on a scale from 1 - 5 eg. 5 = this sounds really interesting to 1 = this doesn't sound at all interesting

Whether you think you can do the type of work mentioned is not important here. Simply rate the items in terms of your level of interest.

When you have completed the scoring you can transfer your answers to a Score Sheet which will identify your main career interest areas.

Career Interests Profile [PDF 121.82KB]

Your Interests Profile Score [PDF 132.91KB]

Personality Types

There are six personality types significant to six different occupational environments. Research suggests you will naturally be drawn to one or two of the types detailed below. If you read through the descriptions below you might be able to identify one or two types which sound more like you than the others.

Practical, Investigative/Technical, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Administrative

Personality Types [PDF 60.86KB]

Which type sounds most like you?

My Career Profile

To develop your personal profile, try to answer the following questions:

  • My work interests include:
  • Skills I would like to use in work include:
  • My personality type suggests I would like to:
  • My values include:
  • Other criteria which are important to me include:
  • A job which sounds interesting to me is:

Career Planning Action Plan

Now turn your career planning ideas into reality. Use our action plan to help you on your way.

Career Planning Action Plan [PDF 50.40KB]

See also

  • About us - find out about the services we offer and book an appointment
  • Events - for our workshop and events programme

Other resources

  • Skillclouds - think about the skills you are developing on your degree
  • Prospects Planner - identify your skills, find out what motivates you and match these to job profiles, from Graduate Prospects
  • Pymetrics - play games assessing 50+ traits. Receive a full report, including companies and sectors you might be best suited to
  • Psychometric Tests - includes our list of useful personality tests 
  • Profiling for Success - includes a personality questionnaire (Type Dynamics Indicator). A full career report is emailed.
    Choose your language first. Then Client Code + Access Code + Password.
    Enter these codes: Client Code: tflhe,
    Access Code: sussex, Password: sussex050808
  • Graduate Success - career stories from graduates about how they moved to the world of work. Covers career choice, planning and taking action