A personal inventory can reveal your abilities, interests, attitudes, and values. It will define your strengths and your weaknesses. Looking for a match between your strengths and the work you are considering is the most important step before you write a resume or search for a job. In fact, when the time comes to write your resume and prepare for a job interview, you will find the task much easier the more you know about yourself.

What if you are not sure what kind of job or career you want? “You” are the place to start. What do you do well and enjoy doing? Answers will help you identify your strengths and help you to decide on what contributions you can make in the marketplace. Many people try to fit into jobs advertised in newspapers or other sources. The employer today has many qualified candidates from which to choose. You will be seriously considered for a position only by showing the employer that you know who you are, what you can offer and where you are going.

Sometimes it is difficult to examine what may be a weakness. Everyone is not equally good at everything. If you want to improve an area, take steps to work on it, e.g., a writing course to enhance written communication skills. Or, perhaps what you or your friends may think of as a deficiency or weakness in you can be turned into a strength in the right job, e.g., lack of empathy may seem like hard-heartedness, but to a person who repossesses furniture and cars, it can be an advantage.

You will need to commit some time to prepare your personal inventory. Your honesty and the quality of your work will predict your level of success in getting the right job. Write out your answers and the conclusions you come to as a permanent record of your thoughts and feelings. The data then becomes an important resource as you continue in your career planning and job search activities.

Personality & Attitudes

Two of the most important factors to determine your happiness and success in a job are your personality and attitudes. Assess your feelings and actions in different situations as they may be different, e.g., in a large group vs. one-on-one, in a fast-paced vs. slow-paced environment. You are unique, having different tolerance levels than others for chaos, detail, and risk-taking.

Evaluate who you really are now, not the person you think you would like to be. Be honest when you judge your thoughts and feelings, your attitudes and behaviors. Put an x to show each personality trait and self-management skill that especially apply to you. Add to the list other traits describing yourself. Check with your friends. Do they see you as you see yourself?

able to concentrate



able to manage stress
























attentive to detail































































Choose what you would consider your top 5 personality and attitudinal strengths, and think of an example of a time when you successfully used each one.

Personality Preferences

Discuss your preferences in terms of the way you live in the world both outside yourself and inside yourself, the way you take in information and make decisions, and the type of environment you are most comfortable in.

In what ways do I interact with the world?

Examples: I become energized by being around people most of the time; need to spend time alone; think out loud; need time to think to prepare answers before speaking; pursue a few interests at great depth; share personal information freely, etc.

How do I take in information?

Examples: I concentrate on what I take in through my 5 senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting) and on what is real and concrete; value imagination; look at a situation and think about its meaning and consequences, etc.

How do I make decisions?

Examples: I use logic and objective analysis; decide based on my personal values and what is right for me and others; prefer one standard for all with no exceptions, etc.

What is my preferred environment?

Examples: I tend to live in an orderly way where life is structured and matters settled; tend to live spontaneously with all kinds of possibilities; am happier after decisions are made; avoid closure; try to understand life rather than control it, etc.

If you wish to explore your personality type further, you may arrange to complete the MYERS BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR through University Career Services.

Adaptive Skills

The Minimum:

Good attendance Complete Assignments Open-minded

Honest Industrious Optimistic

Arrive on time Conscientious Sincere

Follow instructions Informal Original

Meet deadlines Creative Solve problems

Get along with supervisor Intelligent Patient

Get along with coworkers Dependable Spontaneous

Hard working, productive Intuitive Persistent

Discreet Steady

Other Adaptive Skills: Learn quickly Physically strong

Eager Tactful

Able to coordinate Loyal Practice new skills

Friendly Efficient Take pride in work

Ambitious Mature Reliable

Good-natured Energetic Tenacious

Assertive Methodical Resourceful

Helpful Enthusiastic Thrifty

Capable Modest Responsible

Humble Expressive Trustworthy

Cheerful Motivated Self-confident

Imaginative Flexible Versatile

Competent Natural Sense of humor

Independent Formal Well organized

Transferable Skills

Key Transferable Skills: Classify data Communicate verbally

Negotiate Logical

Meet deadlines Compare or record facts Correspond with others

Plan Count, observe, compile Remember information

Speak in public Research Research

Control budgets Detail-oriented Create new ideas

Supervise others Synthesize Design

Increase sales or efficiency Evaluate Speak in public

Accept responsibility Take inventory Edit

Instruct others Write clearly

Solve problems Working with People

Manage money or budgets Administer Leadership

Manage people Patient Arrange social functions

Meet the public Care for Motivate people

Negotiate Persuade Competitive

Organize/manage projects Confront others Negotiate agreements

Written communications Pleasant Decisive

Counsel people Plan

Other Transferable Skills Sensitive Delegate

Demonstrate Run meetings

Dealing with Things Sociable Direct others

Use my hands Diplomatic Self-controlled

Assemble or make things Supervise Explain things to others

Build, observe, inspect things Help others Self-motivated

Construct or repair buildings Tactful Get results

Operate tools and machinery Insightful Solve problems

Drive or operate vehicles Teach Mediate problems

Repair things Interview others Take risks

Good with my hands Tolerant

Use complex equipment Kind Creative, Artistic

Tough Artistic

Dealing with Data Listen Music appreciation

Analyze data or facts Trust Dance, body movement

Investigate Negotiate Perform, act

Audit records Understand Draw, sketch, render

Keep financial records Outgoing Play instruments

Budget Expressive

Locate answers or information Using Words, Ideas Present artistic ideas

Calculate/compute Articulate

Manage money Inventive

Work Values

Part 1: The following list describes a wide variety of satisfactions that people obtain from their jobs. Look at the definitions of the various satisfactions and rate the degree of importance that you would assign to each for yourself, using the scale below:

1 = Not important at all
2 = Not very but somewhat important
3 = Reasonably important
4 = Very important in my choice of career

___ HELP SOCIETY: Do something to contribute to the betterment of the world I live in.

___ HELP OTHERS: Be involved in helping other people in a direct way, either individually or in small groups.

___ PUBLIC CONTACT: Have a lot of day-to-day contact with people.

___ WORK WITH OTHERS: Have close working relationships with people as a result of my work activities.

___ AFFILIATION: Be recognized as a member of a particular organization.

___ FRIENDSHIPS: Develop close person relationships with people as a result of my work activities.

___ COMPETITION: Engage in activities that pit my abilities against others where there are clear win-and-lose outcomes.

___ MAKE DECISIONS: Have power to decide courses of action, policies, etc.

___ WORK UNDER PRESSURE: Work in situations where time pressure is prevalent and/or the quality of my work is judged critically by supervisors, customers or others.

___ POWER AND AUTHORITY: Control the work activities or (partially) the destinies of other people.

___ INFLUENCE PEOPLE: Be in a position to change attitudes or opinions of other people.

___ WORK ALONE: Do projects by myself, without and significant amount of contact with others.

___ KNOWLEDGE: engage myself in the pursuit of knowledge, truth and understanding.

___ INTELLECTUAL STATUS: Be regarded as a person of high intellectual prowess or as one who is an acknowledged “expert” in a given field.

___ ARTISTIC CREATIVITY: Engage in creative work in any of several art forms.

___ CREATIVITY (general): Create new ideas, programs, organizational structures or anything else not following a format previously developed by others.

___ AESTHETICS: Be involved in studying or appreciating the beauty of things, ideas, etc.

___ SUPERVISION: Having a job in which I am directly responsible for the work done by others.

___ CHANGE AND VARIETY: Have work responsibilities that frequently change their content and setting.

___ PRECISION WORK: Work in situation where there is very little tolerance for error.

___ STABILITY: have work routine and job duties that are largely predictable and not likely to change over a long period of time.

___ SECURITY: Be assured of keeping my job and a reasonable financial reward.

___ FAST PACE: Work in circumstances where there is a high pace of activity, work must be done rapidly.

___ RECOGNITION: Be recognized for the quality of my work in some visible or public way.

___ EXCITEMENT: Experience a high degree of (or frequent) excitement in the course of my work.

___ ADVENTURE: Have work duties that involve frequent risk-taking.

___ PROFIT-GAIN: Have strong likelihood of accumulating large amount of money or other material gain.

___ INDEPENDENCE: Be able to determine the nature of my work without significant direction from others; not have to do what others tell me to do.

___ MORAL FULFILLMENT: Feel that my work is contributing significantly to a set of moral standards that I feel are very important.

___ LOCATION: Find a place to live (town, geographical area) which is conductive to my life style and affords me the opportunity to do things I enjoy most.

___ COMMUNITY: Live in a town or city where I can get involved in community affairs.

___ PHYSICAL CHALLENGE: Have a job that makes physical demands which I would find rewarding.

___ TIME FREEDOM: Have work responsibilities that I can work at according to my own time schedule; no specific working hours required.

___ HIGH EARNING ANTICIPATED: Monetary rewards would be such that I am able to purchase those things I consider essential and the luxuries of life I wish.

___ STATUS: It is important the position I have carries respect with my friends, family, and community.

___ ADVANCEMENT: The opportunity to work hard and make rapid career advancement.

___ CHALLENGING PROBLEMS: the position does not have to be “essential to the survival of the human race,” but it should provide challenging problems to solve and the avoidance of continual routine.

___ CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Opportunity to express in writing or verbally my ideas, reactions, and observations concerning my job and how I might improve it.

___ JOB TRANQUILITY: To avoid pressure and the “rat race.”

___ WORK ON FRONTIERS OF KNOWLEDGE: a) Be involved in hard science or human research. b) Work in a company that is considered one of the best in the business and striving for better product advances.

___ EXERCISE COMPETENCE: An opportunity to involve myself in those areas in which I feel I have talents above the average person.

Part 2: Now choose the four or five Work Values that are the most important to you and write them down. If you can think of any other work values, or desired satisfactions, that are not included in the list above and which are especially important to you, add them to your list.

These values comprise a core group to refer to when considering any career or occupation. Ask yourself, “How well does this occupation fulfill my values?” If an occupation does not match your most important values, you will probably not be satisfied with it.


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