Self-assessment is the first and the most important step in choosing an occupation or major, planning your career, and starting a job search. Communicating and articulating your interests, skills, achievements, and values to an employer is critical to a successful job search. Below is a brief description of the various components of self assessment.

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Interests & Experiences

Reflecting on all the activities you have participated in during the last five years, including school, work, volunteering and leisure, will help you gain insight on your pattern of interests. Ask yourself the following questions and look for themes (e.g. a preference for activities that involve working with your hands):

  • What have you liked and disliked about each activity?
  • What did you learn from each activity?
  • Which (if any) aspects of the activity would you like to remain involved with?



There are two types of skills:

  • Hard skills are easily measured and consist of factual knowledge that is usually learned during formal training or at school. Hard skills include technical expertise, laboratory techniques, computer skills, and languages.
  • Soft skills (or transferable skills) are somewhat less tangible and can be acquired in various areas of one’s life, such as school, work, or extra-curricular activities. These skills, which include your interpersonal and communication capabilities, can be transferred to various work situations.



An excellent way to identify your strengths is to consider your achievements. Achievements are occasions where you recognized a problem or a situation, that could have been improved, and you acted on it. Achievements illustrate your abilities and skills, and are indicative of your potential for taking initiative and solving problems. To help you identify these, think of things you are proud of. The following questions can be used to trigger your memory of past achievements:

  • Did you receive some form of recognition (award, title, trophy, etc.)?
  • Did you intervene in a situation that could have become a serious problem had you not detected it?
  • Did you make a suggestion that was adopted by your classmates, team or coworkers?
  • Did you accomplish a task using fewer resources than usual?
  • Did you satisfy a particularly demanding client?
  • Did you initiate something?
  • Have you trained or taught people?


Values are beliefs we develop early in life that make up our fundamental beliefs about what is right and wrong, good and bad. They are shaped by our family, culture, education, religion, and different socialization processes. Some values are maintained throughout our lives, while others may change and become more or less important over time.

There are countless values, including having a family, having financial stability, being healthy, following our religious beliefs, having job security, etc. Take the time to consider and list what is most important to you. Once you have listed your values, identify:

  • Values that you must have at work
  • Values that you would like to have at work, but are not necessary
  • Values that are least important to you


  • Work values: Reflect on your work value
    Examine what values are important to you in your work environment.
  • My Plan Values Exercise
    Helps students and professionals plan more fulfilling lives by making well-informed decisions about their education.

Programs & Resources

If you would like help with the self-assessment process, consider:

  • Meet with a career advisor: Career Advising
  • Make an appointment with our career advisors for assistance in planning your career.

For more resources:

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