Understanding your career values & needs

Our values, a set of the things which we hold dearest to us, are individual and unique to each of us. However, our values often change over time but we rarely audit them.

When we are young, our values may not be the same set as when we are 40: we may have a family and circumstances change. External situations and other factors shape our lives and are highly impactful on our values. Yet without understanding values, it’s almost impossible to find real meaning and fulfilment, which is especially important when it comes to finding the right job or career.



Your career values and needs are also inextricably linked to your personal life values and needs. Getting to know yourself will help work out what is going to make you want to stay in a job, career or organisation, move into a new one or even want to become your own boss.

People traditionally left their jobs because of a clear gap in their skills between their skill set and the organisational requirements, whether through redundancy or other reasons. But in today’s employment market, skills are not necessarily the issue. You might leave your job because you are unhappy or unfulfilled. This could be as a result of a mismatch with your skill set but far more likely because your values are out of synch with the organisation that you are in i.e. nothing to do with your ability to do the job.

For many people, this is most unsettling and can cause self doubt, which could make you a prime candidate for redundancy if the organisation is restructuring.

Being clear about and knowing what is important to you will be a great guide as you move forward or change direction as it will:

  • Keep you on track and motivated.
  • Help with decision making and provide a sense or purpose.
  • Add to your sense of fulfilment.

Examples of values & needs

As a result of your family situation (either young family or caring for elderly parents or relatives) you may have come to the decision that a healthy work-life balance is now of the utmost importance to you. This could become more important and turn from a value into a real need. You may really value the opportunity to be able to work flexibly, possibly even one day a week from home. Equally, you may value being able to give something back to the community and do voluntary work part of the week. This value may determine that you change career into the Not for Profit or Public sectors.

Other typical examples of career values & needs

  • Feeling needed and appreciated.
  • Choosing where you want to work.
  • Making your own decisions.
  • Developing new skills and experience.
  • Managing others.

The list goes on, but it isn’t something that most of us are good at working out on our own. It can be useful to seek help from a Career Coach to unpick what is important to you, to enable you to move forward with confidence to find the right job or career.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Steve Preston Career Coaching

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Written by Steve Preston Career Coaching

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