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What is career success?

Start your self-assessment

Begin by writing down your personal definition of ‘Career Success’ at the top of a blank page. When doing this, be honest about what this term really means for you on a personal level – avoid any 'shoulds’.

Describe your talents


Write down the achievements that have meant the most to you:

  • Are there common threads? E.g., do they use similar skills?
  • What words would describe you from those achievements?
  • Write headlines for your achievements


  • What are the skills you are good at and enjoy?
  • Select your top 10-15 skills
  • These are your 'motivated skills' – search for a job where you can use these
  • Avoid jobs which require only a few of your skills


  • Write down a list of your strengths
  • Consider technical, academic, interpersonal, administrative, management, communication
  • Ask people who know you well to write a list of the strengths they see you possess
  • Compare lists


  • Write down results to see common threads
  • Start with Pinpoint, which you can use in the Careers Office. This is a computer-based tool that can assess your interests and link to suggested job title


There are many ways of assessing personality. The best idea is not to take one as gospel truth, but to try out a few. You are looking for common threads.

Discover your purpose in work and life:

  • Examine a list of commonly held values, and decide your top 5-6
  • Add any that are important to you
  • Decide the 5-6 values you least prefer
  • Chose jobs or careers where you can best realise your top values
  • Avoid jobs or careers which rely on your least preferred values

Describe the work environment in which you will flourish – consider the following:

  • Indoors / outdoors
  • Open plan office / your own office
  • Working with people who are similar to you or different
  • Working in a team or working alone
  • Contact with the public
  • Overseas or in NZ
  • Big city / small city
  • Closely supervised or left to get on with the job

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Set goals and write them down

Divide a page into 3 and allow yourself 4 minutes on each section:

  • What do you want to do in your life time?
  • What do you want to do in the next 3-5 years?
  • What do you want to do in the next 6 months?

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Imagine it is the year 2026 (write down how old you will be)

You are being interviewed for a magazine, newspaper article or you are featured on a webpage:

  • Write down the name of the magazine/ newspaper, or website
  • Write bullet points of the article
  • Why are you being interviewed?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What do they say about you?

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Analyse your notes

  • Are you on track with your course of study to get to this point?
  • Do you need to develop other skills outside of tertiary study?
  • Do you need to find out more about this industry, field or career?

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