Know your motivation video

Know your motivation video

As explained in career planning, a big part of figuring out what career you will enjoy is about understanding what you need or want in a job. This is often an ongoing process and as you work through your degree or build more life experiences, you’ll be able to reflect on these and begin to identify what gives you satisfaction and what you enjoy doing.  

Start with the Know Your Motivation video opposite which will help you to adapt your reflections from focusing on what skills you’ve learnt from an experience to consider what parts of the experience you enjoyed. After that, explore the rest of this page which gives you some practical tools to help you define what you what further such as a values worksheet and links to useful websites. 

What do you want to do this job/research experience? is often one of the first questions asked within an application or an interview. It can also be one of the hardest. Understanding what motivates you to do something and what you enjoy helps not only answer this question, but it helps you to evaluate what sort of career you may want to begin with. 

A simple way to figure what you like is to reflect on things you’ve done before (e.g. a university or school project, a work or volunteering experience). Even if you didn’t enjoy the experience as a whole, try to break it down in parts and consider what gave you a feeling of satisfaction or pride. Identifying these specific elements (e.g. solving a problem, working in a small team) can help you build a list of things you can use to evaluate future opportunities. 

Use the practical tools in the drop down content below along with the downloadable Values and needs worksheet  to reflect and focus on what motivates you. Similar to self-reflection there is no right way to do this so we have provided you with different ideas so you can find one the one that works best for you. 

Knowing you motivation

Values and needs worksheet

The Values and needs worksheet allows you to focus on what you want in a job. Use it in the way that best makes sense to you. It’s designed to help you focus on what is really important to you so if the suggested definition is not what you understand the value to be, rewrite it. There are also extra lines at the bottom of the table for you to add other values or needs you may have in a role. One suggested way is: 

  1. Work through the values, ticking in the first column all that you would like in your future 
  2. Do this again but narrow it down to half of the number you ticked your first time 
  3. Finally, narrow it down to your top five values 

Once you have your top values, you can use these as a reference point when you begin exploring your options. You can also use these values to create questions to ask when you are talking to someone who has a role you are interested in. This way you can get information from them to help you evaluate a role in relation to what you know you need. 

Your values and needs will change as you move through your life and experience new things. Feel free to revisit this worksheet as you often as you need. 

Likes and dislikes lists

This simple method of listing things you’ve enjoyed or not enjoyed can be a good starting point to helping you figure out what you’d like to do in the future. You can use the self-reflection methods explained in the short video at the top of this page (LINK) or you can start by asking yourself these two questions: 

  • Which part of that project/module/experience did I enjoy most? 
  • Where their any areas I really didn’t enjoy? 

Once you have a list, you may wish to do the values and needs worksheet above to further define what motivates you, or you can use this list to help you evaluate roles as you explore your options  (LINK) more. 

Prospects Career Planner

The prospects website has an interactive quiz (Career Planner) that asks you questions about what you enjoy. Based on your answers, it matches you to a variety of roles. Working through the quiz can help you prioritise what you value or need in a role and the roles it suggests can make a good starting point to explore your options further. Learn more about using prospects in the exploring your options webpages. 

Prospects is written and maintained by careers professionals, however there is not a lot of research about the how accurate the matching element of the planner tool is. Use the roles it suggests as a starting point that you can further explore to ensure a suggest role is right for you. 

Personality tests/indicators

There are a lot of different, often free, personality tests and quizzes that you can take to find out more about yourself. Some people find them useful, some people do not. The more common personality tests are the Myers Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) and the free version of this – 16 personalities, CliftonStrenghts and it’s free version High5 strength finder and The Big 5 Personalities test (which is free to begin with). 

Taking these tests can help you to reflect on what you want and your priorities. Some will link you to specific careers. These are tools and can be a starting point in understanding yourself but should be used in conjunction with other methods such as self-reflection when helping you to understand your motivation. 


Career Path Quiz

The Bright Network have created a short career path quiz to help you consider what motivates you. On completion it gives you your three most important values and your three least important values. It then links through to give you more information on jobs titles and sectors however you will find better information about these elements on the prospects website.

The quiz is another tool to help you think about what you value but it is very short and should be used in conjunction with other tools on this page.