Learning Outcome

Students will be able to reflect on personal and professional values, interests and motivations in making career choices


Self-awareness (knowing yourself) is a good starting point to discovering which career or opportunities may be a good fit for you. This may include thinking about your skills (what you do well), your strengths and qualities, your interests and values. This topic will focus on interests and values however you may consider delivering this sequentially or in conjunction with the other topics related to understanding skills.

Students are encouraged to think about their values – the things that they believe are most important in the way they live and work. The activities particularly focus on thinking about what matters most in a student’s work life.

They are also encouraged to think about their interests – those activities that they enjoy on a regular basis.

Students may not have reflected on their values and interests in the past and are not always immediately sure of the relevance to their career development. Research shows that people who work in an environment that suits their interests and values are more likely to be successful and satisfied. When the work environment doesn’t align with personal values it can be a real source of unhappiness and discontent. It is therefore, a good idea for students to consider their interests and values when they explore their career options. It is also important that students can recognise a clash of values once they are in the workplace.

Activities and discussion

Students can undertake a number of activities that encourage them to think about what their interests and values are. Suggested activities include:


Thinking about your interests: 

Ask students to think about the activities they enjoy on a regular basis. They might like to think of it this way: if you had three hours or three days to yourself, with no other commitments and money was not an issue, how would you fill your time (apart from sleeping and eating)? It may include things you enjoy doing in your personal and family time such as hobbies, sports or cultural pursuits. It may include topics that you like to read or research. It may include work activities. Ask students to write down 4-6 activities. This activity is simply designed to get students thinking about what they enjoy doing.


  • How have your interests influenced your study or work choices in the past?
  • How do you think your interests may have influenced your career choices in the future?


It is recommended that these activities are completed in sequential order

1. Introduction: What are values? Discuss this with students. What is their understanding of what a ‘value’ is and how it might relate to their career choices?


  • Values are the elements of your life that that you find personally important. Everyone has a different values system that has been influenced by their background, culture, upbringing and their philosophy of life.
  • Values are core beliefs that guide you on how to conduct your life in a way that is meaningful and satisfying for you.
  • Values are the things against which you measure your choices, whether consciously or not. They determine your level of satisfaction with your choices, even if decisions are not freely made but constrained by other factors

The relevance of values to career:

  • Some jobs provide a scope for expressing what we believe, while other occupations go against certain values
  • People typically find that a job that supports their value system will interest and motivate them far more than a job that goes against their values.
  • Values need to be considered when planning your career because they will influence your choice of occupation, company, corporate culture, work-family balance and social and community involvement.
  • Work values define how you work and how you relate to your co-workers, bosses and clients.

2. Students view RMIT graduate values video.  Students will hear RMIT graduates talking about how values influenced their career choices.


  • What prompted the students to reassess their career choices? (they realised that their work environment did not align with some of their core values).
  • What were some of the core values that they referred to?
  • You may discuss with students how it is important to think about values when considering career options and the importance of recognising that dissatisfaction in studies or work may be as a result of a clash of values. Life can be much easier when you acknowledge your values and make plans and decisions that honour them.

3. Students complete value clarification activity: ValueClarificationExercise.doc. This activity encourages students to think about their past experiences in both personal and work life. Which roles and environments have felt good and bad over the years? When have they felt the most content and satisfied? This exercise may assist students to identify what is important to them prior to completing the online value card sort.

4. Students complete the online card sort activity: Value sorter. Completing this activity will assist students to define the factors affecting their career satisfaction, define the intensity of their feelings about these factors and to apply learnings from the card sort to their career decisions. After completing the activity ask students to identify their top 3-5 values.

5. Students complete Values Reflection worksheet.

6. Optional Activities: students complete values auction. Click here for instructions and worksheet.


Face-to-face, mode or flipped classroom


Up to 1 hour

Graduate values

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