Cornell University

Understand Yourself

Developing career goals requires two basic types of information: knowledge about yourself and information about career options that are compatible with your interests, values, and skills. It can be helpful to work with a career counselor, who may suggest that you use one of a variety of assessment tools to develop greater understanding.

Think about what you enjoy doing, what is important to you, and what you do well. This can help you begin to create a picture of your ideal position, one that will bring you real job satisfaction. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What do I want to spend my days doing?
  • What do I like thinking, learning, and talking about?
  • Would I rather create new ideas or work with established data?
  • Would I rather use my analytical skills or work with people?
  • What kind of work setting do I find most comfortable?
  • What kind of people do I want to work with, for, or around?
  • What kind of lifestyle would I like?
  • What salary do I need?
  • How much time do I want for myself, friends, family?
  • What type of employer would I like to work for?
  • Do I prefer to work independently, in a group, or with an individual?
  • What do I want to be doing in a year?
  • What motivates me to do my best?