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Job Seeker’s Checklist of Values

Every day, we make choices -- some without careful consideration. Whether we realize it or not, often our career choice is based on values rather than the work. Values are the beliefs, attitudes and judgments we prize. Are you aware of your values? Do you act on them?  

Use this checklist to get a better idea of what's important to you. It's divided into three categories related to intrinsic, extrinsic and lifestyle values.

Intrinsic Values
These are the intangible rewards, those related to motivation and satisfaction at work on a daily basis. They provide the inner satisfaction and motivation that make people say, "I love getting up and going to work!"

How important (on a scale of one to five; five being most important) are these intrinsic values to you?
  • _____ Variety and change at work
  • _____ Be an expert
  • _____ Work on the frontiers of knowledge
  • _____ Help others
  • _____ Help society
  • _____ Experience excitement
  • _____ Take risks/have physical challenges
  • _____ Feel respected for your work
  • _____ Compete with others
  • _____ Have lots of public contact
  • _____ Influence others
  • _____ Engage in precision work
  • _____ Gain a sense of achievement
  • _____ Opportunities to express your creativity
  • _____ Work for a good cause
Extrinsic Values
These are the tangible rewards or conditions you find at work, including the physical setting, job titles, benefits and earnings/earning potential. Extrinsic values often trap people into staying at jobs they don't like, saying: "I just can't give up my paycheck!" They are commonly called "golden handcuffs."

How important (on a scale of one to five; five being most important) are these "golden handcuffs" to you?

  • _____ Have control/power/authority
  • _____ Travel often
  • _____ Be rewarded monetarily
  • _____ Be an entrepreneur
  • _____ Work as a team
  • _____ Work in a fast-paced environment
  • _____ Have regular work hours
  • _____ Set your own hours/have flexibility
  • _____ Be wealthy
  • _____ Have prestige or social status
  • _____ Have intellectual status
  • _____ Have recognition through awards/honors/bonuses
  • _____ Wear a uniform
  • _____ Work in an aesthetically pleasing environment
  • _____ Work on the edge, in a high-risk environment
Lifestyle Values
These are the personal values associated with how and where you want to live, how you choose to spend your leisure time and how you feel about money.
How important (on a scale of one to five; five being most important) are these lifestyle values to you?
  • _____ Save money
  • _____ Vacation at expensive resorts
  • _____ Have access to educational/cultural opportunities
  • _____ Live close to sports/recreational facilities
  • _____ Be active in your community
  • _____ Entertain at home
  • _____ Be involved in politics
  • _____ Live simply
  • _____ Spend time with family
  • _____ Live in a big city
  • _____ Live abroad
  • _____ Have time for spirituality/personal growth
  • _____ Be a homeowner
  • _____ Live in a rural setting
  • _____ Have fun in your life and at work
Once you have completed all three checklists, write down all the values you rated as 5s. If you have less than five, add the values you rated as 4s to the list. If your list of 4s and 5s has more than 20 values, you need to stop and prioritize your list. To prioritize, select no more than four or five values from each category.
Next, analyze which of the three categories is most important to you. Consider how each is reflected in the work you currently do or in the position you would like to find. Look for overlap or values that seem to go together, such as "be wealthy" from Extrinsic Values and "save money" from Lifestyle Values. If there is no overlap or compatibility between categories, or if everything is important to you, then reprioritize your list by selecting your top 10 values. Then narrow that list down to the five values you absolutely need both on and off the job.

Finally, write two or three sentences describing or summarizing how your values will translate into your ideal job. Knowing what's important will help you prepare for your next interview or help you find increased satisfaction with the job you have.

As you follow the process, if you notice that what motivates you is actually a reward or already part of your lifestyle, it means you're living your values.