Understanding your specific professional needs and preferences is an important part of finding the right job for you. Figuring out what matters most regarding work environment, tasks, leadership styles, pay, and work-life balance can help you find a role that provides overall professional satisfaction. If you’re looking for a fresh start or making a change in your career, it’s helpful to recognize your career values by mapping them out. This article will explain what career values are, why they are important, the different career values, and how to identify your own.
What do you mean by career values?
Career values are personal principles that help define your ideal work environment. These values describe the environmental and role-specific characteristics that you believe are most important to job satisfaction, career and success. Career values differ from person to person, as each professional usually has work style and environment preferences. For example, if you want to work flexibly and independently in a collaborative role, you may value creativity, flexibility, and independence. In contrast, another professional might value the ability to work in a high-level, influential role with various challenges and opportunities.
Most professionals try to align their career choices with values, regardless of personal preferences. Finding and securing a role that matches your career values can be difficult, but identifying your needs can make a big difference in your professional achievements. These principles will help you find a role where you can do quality work, grow professionally, promote the lifestyle you want, and achieve other important goals you’ve set for yourself. With that, determining your career values can be a useful step in recognizing your overall goals, aspirations, and purpose.
What is the importance of career values?
Career values are important because they help set the parameters of personal satisfaction and professional performance. By identifying your values and what is most important to you, you can be mindful of your career search and use your values to shape the path forward. This is important in understanding your preferences and finding a role that fits your needs. Keeping your values in mind can help you more effectively assess whether a particular role fits you and envision how you can succeed in that position.
Professionals typically need help putting their energy into being successful when working in positions consistent with their career values. These unmet needs and overarching principles can become barriers to productivity. Therefore, finding a position that fits your needs and aligns with your values is important. That way, you can focus on getting the job done, fostering innovation, and developing your skills.
Additionally, finding a role that fits your professional values can be professionally and personally rewarding.
How to assess your career values?
There are several methods you can use to determine your career path, depending on your specific experiences as a professional. Here’s a six-step method for identifying your value.
Observe your past career experiences
You can start by identifying your career values by reflecting on your past career experiences. It can be helpful to reflect on the career values you valued in your previous roles and compare those factors that have become professional obstacles over time. Thinking about your experiences and how they shaped your success and satisfaction as a professional will help you better understand your needs in terms of work environment, work style, and lifestyle. For example, it can be helpful to reflect on experiences where you felt fulfilled and ask yourself what factors led to that fulfillment.
Analyze Your Experiences
After you have collected relevant past experiences through reflection, try to analyze them and draw conclusions about the values that defined them. For example, you can recall an instance from your previous role where you exceeded expectations and did not receive recognition from other team members or management. If this experience seemed difficult, you could conclude that recognition is an important career asset.
In contrast, if you enjoyed a previous role that gave you different opportunities to solve problems and innovate, you may conclude that you value creativity in your career.
Make a Self-Assessment
After considering the general presence of professional values in your career by reflecting on and analyzing your experience, you can make a self-assessment using the list of possible values. It may be helpful to use the list above and circle the values that stand out to you. You can choose values around the circles that remind you of reflective experiences or values you haven’t encountered yet in your career but want to focus on moving forward. You can choose as many values as you want during the self-assessment.
Prioritize the best values from your assessment
After you have completed the self-assessment and selected several values from the list, you can narrow down your choices by choosing the 5-10 values that are most important to you. Strengthening your list of professional values will help you better focus on the factors that will affect your job satisfaction, success, and overall lifestyle in the future. Here you can prioritize the values of your consolidation.
Define these values personally
After you have identified your values and prioritized 5-10 values, you should try to define these values based on your personal needs and preferences. This is important in helping you understand how such values play out specifically in your daily roles and responsibilities. During this process, you may discover that one value you want to prioritize is related to another, which can help you better understand what kind of work environment you need to be successful.
For example, you can define sufficient compensation to support your family as an external value related to your lifestyle needs in a family-friendly and flexible work environment. Identifying this intersection of values helps you prioritize and identify.
Prioritize Your Values
Once you have determined your values through a personal lens, try prioritizing your values in descending order. Put the most important value at the top of your list and the least important value at the bottom so you can visualize its importance to your career search. This process can help you negotiate the career values you chose in your self-assessment and identify which of those values may not be negotiable.
This can guide your general career search. For example, suppose you rate kindness very high and recognition low on your list of values. In that case, you should be intentional about a career that allows you to help others through charitable methods and still receive recognition from time to time. Conversely, if you put them in reverse, it can direct your career search differently.
It is a must to know your career values. It helps you know when to quit, how to choose between two jobs and many other career decisions.
Try the exercises mentioned above to determine your values. For example, looking at examples of the things people value in their careers—such as work-life balance, learning opportunities, daily pace, travel opportunities, etc.—can help you crystallize what you value most.
Everyone has unique career values. Everyone weighs different factors differently. And at different times in your life, your work values may change.