Skills and Interests

Understanding your skills, interests, values, and personality is the first step toward choosing a career path. Learning what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what you value most in your life or work environment is necessary before you embark on exploring possible careers. View the sections below for resources to help you as you reflect.

SkillsTransferable Skills  |  Interests  |  Values  |  Personality  |  Competencies and Career Readiness  |  How the Career Center Can Help

Skills

Throughout the course of your life, you have gained competencies in many areas. Think about your accomplishments, and the talents that enabled you to succeed. Common skill areas include: interpersonal, communication, leadership and organizational.

For help assessing your skills, see our Skills Inventory.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are areas of strength (personal qualities) you can transfer from one environment to another such as home, school, work, volunteerism, or extra-curricular activities. They can be used in many different environments, across occupations, regardless of the type of work. You may have attained transferable skills from:
- Volunteering, not-for-profit organization, or community service
- School organizations or service learning
- Job shadowing
- Part-time jobs or internships
- Academic courses

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top 10 personal qualities employers seek are:

Leadership  |  Ability to work in a team  |  Written communication skills  |  Problem-solving skills  |  Strong work ethic  |  Analytical/quantitative skills  |  Technical skills  |  Verbal communication skills  |  Initiative  |  Computer skills

For help assessing your skills, see our Skills Inventory.

Interests

What interests do you have that could be translated into a career?

  • Which projects or accomplishments have been most fulfilling and why?

  • What has been your favorite class to date and why?

  • What has been your favorite internship/job? Extracurricular activity? Hobby?

  • In your previous jobs, what did you like and dislike?

See our worksheets for help on clarifying your interests:

Values

Values play an integral role in career satisfaction. Do you prefer risk or stability? Variety or routine? Teamwork or autonomy? Competition or collaboration?

These tools can help you identify your values and understand your family and cultural influences:

Personality

Understanding your personality preferences is an important part of choosing a fulfilling career path. Personality can be defined as a combination of qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character, which influence how you see, experience, and interact with the world.

Reflect on the questions below as a first step in thinking about your personal traits:

  • How would your friends or family describe you?
  • How and with whom do you prefer to spend your time?
  • How do you like to approach new projects or activities?
  • How do you typically make big decisions?
  • How do you prefer to go about your day?

How the Career Center Can Help

The Tufts Career Center offers tools, at no cost to you, to assist your self-assessment process:

Strong Interest Inventory

This online instrument can help you identify themes and specific areas of interest, and it compares your interests with those of individuals in a variety of occupations.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The MBTI helps you identify your natural personality preferences and how they influence the way you make decisions, interact with people, gather information, and get energized. The MBTI does not measure aptitudes, but helps you better understand yourself, your motivations, strengths, and potential areas of growth.

Meet with a Career Advisor to access the Strong or MBTI. You'll also meet with an advisor after you take an assessment to discuss your results.

While assessing your values, interests, personality preferences and skills (or VIPS) cannot guarantee career satisfaction, you will find this knowledge most helpful as you explore majors, potential careers, create your marketing tools such as resumes and cover lettersapply to graduate school, network, and prepare for interviews.

Additional career exploration tools and activities:

  • What Color is Your Parachute?: Companion piece to the best-selling career book in the world; includes information for career changers.

  • What's Your Skillset: This website is directed at women but has great information for any career seeker. Free registration gives you access to What’s Your Skillset, located under the Assessments link.

  • Career Interests Game: A fun way to start thinking about how your interests and personality will fit with specific work environments and careers.

  • O*Net Online Skills Search: This online questionnaire links your skills to a variety of occupations.

You can also learn about where and how you excel by participating in extracurricular clubs and activities. Tufts provides many opportunities to get involved. Being active outside of class can illuminate new areas of interest and help you develop career-related skills such as teamwork, leadership, and effective communication.

Once you’ve identified what’s meaningful to you, start to research related jobs and careers and begin to refine your options.