Finding a Career that Suits Your Core Values: A Guide

Core values play a critical role in career satisfaction and success.

~ 7 minute read

Your career is a big part of your life, and can have a significant impact on your overall happiness. And whether you realize it or not, core values play a critical role in career satisfaction and success.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can discover your core values and use them to find a career that best suits you. By taking the time to identify your core values and choosing a career that aligns with them, you can increase your chances of feeling fulfilled and satisfied in your work.

Why core values are often overlooked when it comes to career choice

People may not connect their core values with their career choice for a variety of reasons:

  • Lack of awareness: Some people may not be aware of their own core values, and as a result, they may not understand how important it is to align their career with their values.
  • Focus on practical considerations: People may be more focused on practical considerations, such as salary and job security, when choosing a career. They may not consider the importance of aligning their career with their values.
  • Limited options: Some people may feel that their options for careers that align with their values are limited. This can lead to frustration and a sense that aligning their values with their career is not achievable.
  • Lack of time: Some people may not have the time or resources to fully explore their values and the careers that align with them.
  • Pressure from others: People may feel pressure from family, friends, or society to pursue a certain career, even if it does not align with their values.

Why core values are critical to your career path

Core values in relation to a career can help guide an individual’s job search, professional development, and decision-making in their work. Here are a few reasons why they are so important:

  • Alignment with your beliefs: When you choose a career that aligns with your core values, you are more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied in your work. This is because your job aligns with your beliefs and principles, making it easier to feel motivated and invested in your work.
  • Improved work-life balance: When your career aligns with your core values, it can also help you achieve a better work-life balance. This is because you are less likely to feel stressed or burned out in a job that aligns with your values, making it easier to enjoy your personal life.
  • Better decision-making: When you know your core values, you have a better understanding of what’s important to you, making it easier to make decisions about your career. This can help you make decisions that align with your values, making it easier to stay committed to your goals and feel fulfilled in your work

Steps to finding your core values

Step 1: Identify your core values
Finding what’s important to you in a career can be a process of self-discovery and introspection. Remember that finding a career that aligns with your values and interests can take time, and it’s okay to try different roles or industries before finding the right fit. Here are some steps that you can follow to help you determine what you value in a career. Write down your answers with a pen and paper:

  • Reflect on what’s important to you: Start by thinking about what you value most in life, such as family, personal growth, financial stability, creativity, or helping others. These values can serve as a guide to what you want in a career.
  • Evaluate your interests: Think about what activities or subjects you are passionate about and how they could be incorporated into a career. For example, if you enjoy problem-solving and science, a career in engineering could be a good fit. If you love the outdoors and animals, a career as a wildlife or marine biologist could be a great fit.
  • Consider your skills and strengths: What skills do you possess that you enjoy using and are good at? Matching your skills and strengths with a career can lead to job satisfaction and success.
  • Reflect on past experiences: Consider your past jobs, volunteer work, and other experiences. What did you enjoy about these experiences and what did you dislike? This can give you an idea of the work environment, responsibilities, and tasks that you do or do not find fulfilling.

Some more questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I believe in deeply?
  • What motivates me?
  • What makes me feel fulfilled and satisfied?
  • What do I stand for?

Examples of Core Values: Integrity, Respect, Excellence, Teamwork, Customer focus, Adaptability, Empowerment, Sustainability, Continuous learning, Responsibility, Trust, Inclusivity, Accountability, Humility, Honesty, Compassion, Empathy, Equality, Innovation, Gratitude, Patience, Tolerance, Kindness, Independence, Balance, Generosity, Positivity, Resourcefulness, Self-discipline, Harmony, Authenticity, Purpose, Consistency, Justice, Mindfulness, Simplicity, Adventure, Caring, Resilience, Wisdom

Once you have a list of your core values, prioritize them and consider how they might influence your life and your career choices.

Step 2: Research potential careers
Now that you have a better understanding of your core values, it’s time to research potential careers that align with them. Start by exploring a broad range of fields/careers that you think might fit in with your values and consider the following:

  • What values of mine do these careers align with?
  • What type of work do they involve?
  • What skills and qualities are needed for success in these careers?

Helpful Tips
Need some help thinking of potential careers? We have a list of over 1,000 careers for you to look through. Click on any career for a detailed description that can help you narrow down your options. Want a quick example? Take a look at our Zoologist Career Description as well as our How to Become a Zoologist section to see what great career content we provide.

Take advantage of our career assessment: There are many online career assessments out there that can help you identify careers that match your personality, interests, and skills. However, we’re pretty partial to our own free career test that uses advanced machine learning, psychometrics, and career satisfaction data to provide you with your top career matches based on your interests, goals, history, workplace preferences, and personality.

Step 3: Narrow down your list of careers and evaluate your options
Narrow down your list to three career options. Then look at job boards and read job descriptions for each career, research the industry, and learn about the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Consider the following:

  • Which of these careers aligns best with your core values?
  • If work-life balance is important to you, which career is the best option?
  • What are the long-term prospects for each career?
  • What are the potential drawbacks and challenges?

You can also speak with professionals in these fields, attend career fairs, and ask for informational interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the careers that interest you.

Note: Informational interviews are a type of meeting or conversation in which you can seek information about a particular job, career, or industry from someone who works in that field. The goal of an informational interview is to gather information, not to ask for a job. Informational interviews can be a fantastic tool for career exploration and networking, as they can provide you with an opportunity to learn about a particular field or job from someone who has firsthand experience.

Step 4: Take action
Finally, it’s time to take action and make a decision. Choose the career that aligns best with your core values and provides the best opportunities for growth, fulfillment, and satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks, and remember that your career is a journey, not a destination.


Finding a career that aligns with your core values is an important step towards happiness and fulfillment. By identifying your core values, researching potential careers, evaluating your options, and taking action, you can find a career that best suits you and allows you to live a life that aligns with your beliefs and values.

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