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Career Services at the University of Zurich

CEP Phase 2: Self Reflection: My Skills, Interests and Values


Now you have created a first version of your documents and thought about your strengths and weaknesses. We hope you enjoyed it and discovered a few things about yourself.

This week we want to provide you with more tools to help you deepen your self-assessment and find out more about your preferences and goals.

Who am I?

At the beginning of every career choice is the question of your personal interests and values. After all, having fun and interest in your work is crucial for a satisfied professional life. On the basis of concrete experiences in your biography you can find out what you like to do and what is important to you.


This simple graphic helps you to show your interests, wishes and values at a glance. In the teaser you will find the pptx to fill it out directly.


Value Circle

By the way, next week you will tackle the topic "skills/competencies" in more detail.

Interests and dreams

Imagine working in an environment that means something to you and in which you are willing to get involved. Then work does not become a duty but contributes a lot to your personal fulfillment! Take a moment and think back to the last time you were particularly motivated. What exactly was it that motivated you? What mobilized your energy reserves? Consider all possible areas of life, leisure, study, and work. Maybe the following questions will help you:

  • When was the last time you had the feeling that something really excited you?
  • Which subjects were you interested in during school/university?
  • During which activities do you forget the time?
  • What do you like to discuss/read about?
  • What did you ever want to become?

  • If you could not fail in any way, you would like to...

  • Whose profession do you admire?

If you have thought about your interests or, even better, have written them down, it is worth discussing them with a trusted person from your circle of friends or family. Perhaps you have discovered long-awaited wishes or recurring needs have been confirmed. Keep an eye on your interests, because they show you the professional environment in which you feel comfortable.  


We all tend to take our skills and abilities for granted. However, if you are aware of what you can do (and that is often more than you think), you can tackle your career in a goal-oriented way, reflect on your application documents and convince in the interview!  In order to find out what you are particularly good at, it is worth taking a look at your CV. Think about concrete situations in which you were proud of yourself and that meant something to you. Try to analyze which skills you have used and find out more about your skills.  

Tip: create a list of 10-20 skills. Be as precise as possible when formulating the list and also think of competences you have acquired and applied in part-time jobs, internships or in your spare time. Perhaps the following distinction will help you: Professional skills from studies and work - Methodical competencies - Social skills If you find this self-assessment difficult, then you can also ask 3-4 people from your private or professional environment to name 5 particular strengths of yours and to describe how these show up in concrete terms.

At the end, go through all the skills and write down in one sentence what you are particularly good at: 



Now let’s find out what is important to you and what you expect from your future employer. Values are basic characteristics and norms that shape our behaviour and attitudes. They determine whether we feel comfortable and can develop in our professional environment. Based on the following questions, consider which values guide you in everyday life and which are particularly important to you.


  • What is important to you in your life?
  • Which convictions are your guiding principles?
  • How do you recognize in everyday situations that value is fulfilled or disregarded?
  • Who do you admire most and why?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What do family, friends and leisure time mean to you?
  • What values must a company embody for you?


Draw the ten most important values in a value pyramid, according to which you want to shape your life. Then decide which values need to be covered in your job and which you can realize in your free time.


Can you deduce from the list of your values what your ideal job should look like?

The role of happenstance

Of course, you can set your professional goals and plan your way there. But what is the probability that you will be able to follow the path exactly? Won't it rather be the case that random events will occur which you are not yet aware of and which will have a great impact on your professional and private future?


The following happenstance events can play a major role (Betsworth/Hansen 1996):

  • Professional and personal relationships
  • Unexpected promotion
  • In the right place at the right time
  • Marriage and family
  • Encouragement from others
  • Influence of previous work experience, including voluntary work
  • Experience from the army, civil service, etc.
  • Temporary work becomes permanent
  • Unexpected confrontation with an interesting topic


Because these coincidences play an important role in professional careers, we would like to sensitize you a little and ask you how happenstance has influenced your school and professional career so far.



By the end of the Career Empowerment Program, you should be able to define career goals that align with your values. 

End of Phase 2 Self-reflection: My Skills, Interests and Values

Self-reflection can be quite enlightening, but also exhausting! We hope you've made some progress. By the way, it's worth pondering about your values and goals again and again, because often the bright ideas don't come while brooding at your desk, but while riding a bike or taking a walk with someone familiar.


If you like, you can now send us your thoughts for feedback or you can contact us with open questions:


We wish you many tremendous insights!

Your UZH Career Services

Weiterführende Informationen

Call to action

Call to action

You can send me your thoughts and ideas for a feedback: or your profile, if you have questions

Further information

Learn More about Your Interests and Personality

Register for free at Laufbahndiagnostik (English available) for a range of tests.