Researching and soul-searching: how to find your fit

Ashley Rizzotto works in the Office of Career Development with current undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni to ensure the confidence and success of those she meets with.

Imagine you are gainfully employed at your dream job.

What does it look like? Is it a big or small organization? Do you have a lot of interaction with other people? Do you supervise or work on a team of professionals to create, explore, analyze, or discover to benefit your community?

All of these considerations point toward the type of careers that will bring you satisfaction and joy. Knowing the qualities of the role and setting of a job is one way to identify a “fit.” A fit is the combination of two important components: the core values that motivate you ethically and morally through your everyday life, and your strengths in terms of skill sets and tasks that you excel at.

Finding your values

By asking the questions above, you can start to identify the values that impact your daily decision-making. Career values are the elements of a job that you absolutely need to be fulfilled and proud of what you do. For example, the hopes of working for a big organization can stem from the value of learning from and connecting with many different people. Working for a small company might originate from the value of building close relationships with co-workers to perform in many different roles.

The only way to move forward in your career search is to start internally. Taking a personality assessment such as the Myer-Briggs Typology Inventory, The Holland Code or the Strong Interest Inventory can help you understand your needs as a leader and how you want to impact the world through your career. Some of these assessments are available through Career Development so be sure to ask about them in a drop-in session or appointment.

Finding your strengths

Pay attention to compliments: Has a friend ever thanked you for being a good listener? Have you been told you have an infectious laugh? These are your strengths shining through in your day-to-day experiences. Dig deeper to connect those compliments to your working skill set. If you are a good listener, you may have potential in a service-oriented role where you can provide help to others based on their individual needs. Your infectious laugh could be an indicator of a strong positive attitude and the ability to influence the people around you. Write down the compliments you receive to unlock the strengths that are trying to get out.

Have you ever found that you picked up a new hobby and suddenly hours have passed by? Do you have a natural knack for building IKEA furniture or speaking in front of your class? This glimpse of excellence shows a talent that you have that you can start refining into a skill. Pay attention to what comes easily to you.

What are your quirks? Do you truly enjoy something that most people groan about? Anything from sifting through data to being energized by interviews is another way to identify your skills. If you passionately enjoy doing something, there should be traits you can sift out that can tell you more about your personality, work ethic and how you feel recognized and validated.

Take the Love Languages assessment online to learn about how you like to be recognized at work or the VIA Character Strengths Assessment to learn more about your core values.

Soul-searching meets researching

Now that you have a strong sense of the values and strengths that motivate you, use tools like and to search for industries and careers that relate to what you need. The more you learn about yourself, the easier it will be to excel as you plan for your career.

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