Increase your self-awareness and catapult your career

Identifying the right career choice for you involves many factors, but a crucial part of the process is developing your own self-awareness. Taking time to do this at the start of your career planning can significantly impact on your job satisfaction and success.

With the Christmas holidays looming and New Year just around the corner it’s a popular time to take charge of your career development. Research shows that most people dedicate more time and research to buying a car than they do to selecting a career path. For many of us, career development can seem a vast project and often the problem is simply knowing where to begin.

Self-awareness can help you understand your occupational fit by analysing your moods, emotions and drives and the effect they have on others. It goes beyond understanding your skills and interests to reveal insights into your personality type, personal values, work environment preferences, your strengths and your weaknesses. Self-awareness is a component of emotional intelligence (EQ) – or put simply the ability to understand yourself and, importantly, others – and can play a critical role in our success. Emotional Intelligence is proven to account for up to 45% of job success and increasingly, research shows that effective leaders can be distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. So investing the time now to reflect on ‘what makes you tick’ and what you really have to offer a future employer can pay dividends, not only in landing your dream job but helping you to become a high performer.

There are a whole range of self-assessment tools out there to help you discover yourself – a quick search online will introduce you to some examples.  Career coaches can also take you through personality tests to help you understand you’re innate strengths and weaknesses, and importantly, how to manage them.

At the University of Edinburgh, our students have access to a huge range of resources at the central Careers Service and it is well worth a visit to review some of the literature available. Students can also access online tools, completely free of charge, such as Career Ed, a brand new online course designed to assist those navigating the career planning process.

To kickstart the process and get our students on track for 2014, we’re running our first skills session for the new semester (15th January) on Self Awareness. Diane Peebles from Rock the Boat Consulting will be challenging our Masters students to explore their own strengths, motivators and drivers and how they can shape their future careers.

Find out more about our MyCareer programme for MSc and the MyCareer for MBA students.

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Published by

Amanda Singleton, Careers Manager

Amanda is the Careers Manager (Maternity Cover) for the Business School. Amanda has a background in global recruitment and talent management, recruiting senior management and director level roles for a broad range of clients across diverse sectors.