Episode #78: How to Explore Your Work Interests

Welcome to the Confident Careerist podcast. I’m your host Teena Evert, and I’m so glad you are tuning in to today’s episode.

If you don’t know me, I am the host of the Confident Careerist podcast, CEO at Claim the Lead, and the Founder of Career Choice Academy. We help working adults and students make career choices and transform an existing career path to be confident in their future.

Before I dive into today’s topic, I want you to go to How to Figure Out a Clear Direction for Your Career Path and download my free audio training, where you’ll learn three strategies to help you find clarity and gain confidence towards building a career and life you love.

In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how to explore your work interests. 

Your interests are what keep you motivated and energized. Understanding and following them will bring enjoyment and satisfaction to your life.

Your Interests describe what you enjoy. Part of living a life of joy and purpose means always finding ways to satisfy your interests. 

Here are some reflective questions to help prime your thinking…

  • Think back on your experience in school; which subjects did you enjoy the most?
  • What was a favorite job that you’ve held? What did you like about it?
  • What kinds of things do you do for fun?
  • What kinds of career paths are going to be most likely to satisfy your interests?

Knowing your work interest is part of identifying what makes you unique. In terms of your unique interests, how would you respond if someone asked you about what you’re interested in when it comes to working? 

You are someone who ____________?

Sound career decisions are made based on understanding person-environment fit. An essential starting point for assessing fit is to start by understanding one’s gifts, where “gifts” are defined very broadly to include all aspects of what makes a person unique. 

Psychologists have worked hard to identify the critical aspects of people that are important in understanding individual differences. 

Today, we’ll start with interests. In career development, interests are defined as stable dispositions that reflect motivations to engage in a particular set of activities. Vocational psychologist Bruce Walsh put it more simply when he described interests as “motivations that determine life decisions.”

The most popular way of understanding interests and the focus of literally thousands of research studies comes from the late psychologist and professor John L. Holland. Holland proposed that both people and work environments can be characterized according to six broad vocational types. 

Consider the following six theme descriptions of people, interests, and skills to help you think more about this. 

Realistic. People with Realistic interests enjoy mechanical activities, athletics, working with their hands, and being outdoors, getting dirt under their fingernails.

Investigative. People characterized by Investigative interests enjoy asking intellectual questions and investigating the answers to those questions, maybe using scientific methods to solve problems.

Artistic. Those with Artistic interests really appreciate self-expression, certainly through fine arts and drama, writing, music, and even culinary activities. They like to work in unstructured situations, using their imagination or creativity.

Social. People with Social interests like being in roles where they can directly help people—teachers, pastors, and counselors. They like to work with people – to inform, enlighten, support, train, develop, or cure them, or are skilled with words.

Enterprising. Those with Enterprising interests enjoy persuading people. They can do so in business-related tasks like sales and marketing and through the law, politics, and public speaking. They are people who like to work with people.

Conventional. People with Conventional interests enjoy organizing things. They love detail-oriented tasks and get a kick out of something like filing systems and spreadsheets. 

People don’t just have one type of interest—they usually have interests in all six domains, only to varying degrees. Pick the three that best describe your work interests.

Keep in mind that having an interest in something doesn’t imply having an ability in that thing—someone can deeply enjoy music, for example, without being able to carry a tune. 

Several sophisticated, heavily researched, and scientifically supported interest inventories are available that reliably assess how high or low a person’s scores are on the six types relative to people in general. 

Career Choice Academy offers one of these inventories, and learners can use their scores to determine their “Holland Code”—generally their highest three interest types. 

Once a person has a Holland code, they can search a database of occupational information to identify career paths that are likely to satisfy their interest profile. 

Although interests are just one aspect of what makes you unique, interest assessments are valuable tools for helping you understand the types of work you will enjoy most.

Ultimately this leads to making better career choices and engaging in meaningful career development throughout your career.

Until next time, Be Confident.


How to Figure Out a Clear Direction in Your Career_Audio Training

In this free audio training, you’ll learn three strategies that’ll give you the clarity and confidence to build a career and life you love.