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What matters most

September 9, 2022 by Kelly Kendall-Jones

What matters most

If you were asked in an interview today to list your top four values, what would your answers be?

Defining your values can help to inform the types of jobs you aspire to and the sort of organisations you want to work with. Understanding your values can also increase your confidence and strengthen your decision-making skills. Knowing your values is an important part of making career and life choices.

So, what exactly are values? Your core values represent your deeply held beliefs and embody what is most important to you. They play an important role in shaping how you respond to situations and how you set goals.

In relation to career choices and job selection, values are important to helping you determine your best fit with an organisation and enhancing your job satisfaction. If you feel aligned with your employer’s values, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied in your job. It’s a win-win!

If you’re finding it difficult to articulate your values, it might be helpful to check out the Choosing Your Career Path Workbook available on UniHub. This resource contains a comprehensive list of values for you to choose from.

If you’re not sure of your values, it’s worth taking some time to identify what is most important to you. We’ve got some suggested activities that can help you identify what your values are:

An activity from MindTools:

  1. Identify the times when you have been happiest. Find examples from the work you’ve done, the studies you’ve undertaken, and from your personal life. What were you doing? Were you with other people? Who? What other factors contributed to your happiness?
  2. Identify the times when you were most proud. Again, use examples from all facets of your life. Why were you proud? Did other people share your pride? Who? What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?
  3. Identify the times you felt the most fulfilled and satisfied. How and why did these experiences give your life meaning?

Now think about why each of the above experiences were memorable and important to you. Make a list of the values that come out of these experiences and rank them in order of importance. While the number of core values can vary, it’s typically best to narrow them down to between five and ten.

An exercise from The Big Book of ACT Metaphors (Stoddard J., and Afari N., 2014):

Imagine an employment site where, instead of employers posting jobs to solicit applications, you post information about yourself and employers apply to you if they have a role that meets your requirements.

Without specifying a particular job or profession, write a job ad about the kind of person you are and what you care about including:

  • personal motto
  • personal qualities
  • talents or skills
  • values
  • ambitions
  • anything else you wish for in your ideal job
  • types of employers that need not apply

Identifying and understanding your values can be challenging. By investing the time in becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choices in any situation.

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