University of Wisconsin–Madison

Career Growth

Understanding yourself is key to building sustainable career goals and supporting long-term career growth for all employees. Knowing your personal values, career interests, individual personality, and unique skill set helps you develop your UW–Madison career goals, communicate them to mentors and leadership, and build your long-term career and professional development plan.

Values are the motivations that give meaning to our work. Knowing what our values are is a key step in identifying jobs and work spaces that would fit us. Often it is easier to understand values by looking at where they are not—behaviors we find unpleasant, decisions we disagree with, or choices we struggle to make. Ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way about this behavior/decision/choice?” This can help to identify and communicate the value that is being triggered.

Need more help? DIY Steps

Career interests describe the kind of work we do—beyond tasks or job titles. Ask yourself, “What words would I use to describe the work I enjoy doing?” Knowing our interests helps us group potential job titles and tasks into career interest areas that can better direct our next steps as we grow.

Need more help? Onet Interest Profiler & DIY Steps

In our careers, our personality defines how we interact with the people around us and the kind of environment where we are most productive. Ask yourself, “Under what circumstances do I do my best work?” This can help clarify who you are in the workplace and what kind of environment or activities would fit you best.

Need more help? DIY Steps

For many people, skills are the piece of career management that are both easiest to identify and most likely to change over time. In every workplace there are three types of skills:

  1. Technical skills – the most specific and quantifiable skills, such as knowing a specific policy or how to use a particular tool.
  2. Soft skills or essential skills – the most qualitative and conceptual skills, such as concepts you understand or general abilities you’ve developed.
  3. Transferable skills – the combination of a conceptual essential skill, such as communication, with a technical skill, such as knowing purchasing card (P-card) policy. In this example, that transferable skill might be communicating P-card policy to individual employees and verifying P-card documentation. To discover your transferable skills, ask yourself, “What work am I responsible for?”

Need more help? Onet  & Total Title and Compensation Project Tasks v. Responsibilities Tool