No matter the type of opportunity, sometimes I have the pleasure of discussing a very special question with students and alumni: “How do I determine which opportunity is the best fit for me?” This is an excellent question for anyone to reflect on because it is often the driving force for a big life decision. And that is just it: it takes time to reflect and prioritize for such a big decision. The most influential factors tend to be that of your personal values, interests, and skills. Let’s break those down.
Values tend to be the most inherent, intangible factors that live deep down in the core of who we are. This is mostly because your values are directly related to your worth. Examples of values could be your value to be able to work from home, travel, mentorship, and more. Ways to inquire with an employer about meeting your values could be “Are there opportunities to flex my hours during the week?” or “What mentorship will be provided to me with this opportunity?”
Interests could also be considered the lasting curiosities or hobbies you would like to hold on to. This leads into an excellent point of the lifestyle an opportunity allows you to have outside of the work schedule. For instance, if the opportunity is 8-5, is it too taxing of a job to be able to go play a team sport afterwards? Examples of other interests could be community service and diversity initiatives. Ways to inquire with an employer about highlighting your interests could be “Do we have the freedom to organize fundraisers for local charities that the company can take part in?” or “Does the team participate in any city athletic leagues to have fun and simultaneously build morale and chemistry?”
Skills are not only things we like to do, but abilities we are confident we can do well. Skills are important because they are your greatest transferable assets to an employer. People often need to make sure they can not only cultivate, but refine select skills at a new opportunity. Examples of skills could be interpersonal communication, leadership, or even conflict management. Ways to inquire with an employer about skill usage could be “What skills could I be held accountable for day to day?” or “How would I be able to apply my leadership skills within this role?”
The most important thing about reflecting on your values, interests, and skills is to prioritize them. You must be proud of them and stand up for them when considering an opportunity because you will inherently be advocating for yourself and your future. The individuals I see who do not take their time reflecting on these influential factors are the ones who end up being extremely dissatisfied with life and end up in a worse situation than before. Have you thought of your values, interests, and skills before? How would you integrate them into a career decision? Feel free to discuss this with your Program Manager in Career Services.
Ryan Mazon is a an alum of Florida State University where he completed his Master’s/Specialist’s degree in Career Counseling. He is the program manager for many majors including engineering programs and Homeland Security in the ERAU Daytona Beach, FL Career Services Office. Ryan has a background working with many different offices at Florida State before working for career services, including campus recreation, new student and family programs, and student disability services. He has a passion for serving students by meeting them where they are at and connecting them to the resources they need. On his free time, Ryan enjoys the beach, playing different instruments, and staying active outdoors.