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Who are you?

When it comes to making choices about your career, it helps to first understand who you are and what's important to you. 

Developing this self-awareness can guide you to make more meaningful choices and find a career where you feel fulfilled and rewarded. 

Who are you?

Maybe you've suddenly or perhaps gradually found yourself standing in the middle of a career crossroads, scanning the various paths around you and wondering which one to take. It's likely you'll be asking yourself questions such as, “Where am I going to go now?” and, “What am I going to do next?”   

At this point, it can be easy to feel lost among all the seemingly limitless choices, all the information about various options and all the potential directions in which you could go. Alternatively you may recognise that you want something to change but without knowing what. 

It may help to start off by asking yourself a simple question: “Who am I?” 

Having a greater sense of awareness about who you are is an essential part of career coaching, providing a compass for your career direction or goals and shaping your values. 

Your values 

Values are the beliefs, ideas or qualities that are important to you. They are central when it comes to planning your career. If you can determine which aspects of your working life are most important, it will help you choose a career path that is right for you. 

Working in a job that aligns with your values means you are more likely to thrive. On the contrary, working in a role that doesn’t meet your values can lead to feeling unfulfilled, frustrated or unhappy. 

Taking time to try and pin down your values could help to:

  • realise what changes you need to make
  • make better or more meaningful choices
  • guide you when making decisions or goals
  • determine whether a job is right for you
  • offer direction or inspiration
The My Career Values worksheet can help you determine which aspects of your working life are important to you. It can also help you work out what you can control and what you can't.  

My career values

Use this worksheet to determine which aspects of your working life are most important to you.

Examples of values

Direct patient contact 
Being able to lead
Autonomy / independence
Motivating others 
Being an expert / specialist
Feeling valued
Learning and development
Having room to progress
Financial reward
Power / influence
 Giving advice 
 Job security
 Supportive colleagues
 Working with children
Feeling challenged
Less travelling / more travelling
 core hours / shift work
 Empowering others
 Working in a team
 Managing own workload

Your talents

We tend to feel more satisfied in our working lives if we’re able to do something we’re good at. When making career decisions, it helps to try and assess what your talents or strengths are, also reflecting upon why this might be. 

You could try the following career coaching exercise to help you identify this:

Think of a time when you felt you were working "at your best," or put another way, think back to the roles or tasks that you enjoyed the most. What skills were you using and/or what was the environment around you like at the time? You can use the My Career Talents worksheet to help you.



  • I wrote an induction programme for a new staff member on the ward.

Contributing factors

  • I had a very supportive ward manager who encouraged me to do this.
  • I was given time out to complete the activities and felt able to do a good job.
  • I put into practice lots of ideas I had about improving staff orientation on the ward.
  • I found the task stimulating and motivating.
  • I was able to lead on the task and given free rein to do so.


  • Communication (talking to staff about what could be included)
  • writing (updating and summarising materials)
  • organisation (breaking the task into manageable chunks)
  • teaching (I delivered some of the programme myself)

As a member of the RCN, you can book an appointment with one of our Careers Coaches to explore these exercises in more detail. 

My career talents

Use this worksheet to define what your talents are and how you might use them to improve your working life.

Examples of talents

 Critical thinking
 Problem solving

What is Careers Coaching?

You may have come across a Careers Adviser at school or university, whose role would have been to provide advice and information on qualifications for certain professions. 

Careers Coaching takes a different approach, instead working collaboratively with you to:

  • Reflect on your current situation
  • Guide you to engage in the process of reflecting and researching
  • Encourage actions and decisions to be made by you as the individual, to ensure ownership
  • Help eliminate any fear, negativity or uncertainty
  • Identify some steps to take forward with any career decisions. 

The benefit of Careers Coaching is that it takes into consideration other factors which may impact on your career and work-life balance. You may have personal situations or needs which can affect your career, and so coaching will explore these.   

What the Careers Coach can do: 

Help you to reflect on your current situation and facilitate your career journey.  As a result of this process, they can identify some steps to take forward career decisions with action steps.

What the Careers Coach cannot do:

Influence or dictate your decisions. They cannot tell you what job to do or which course to take, but will instead will work collaboratively with you to guide you to take the next steps.


Want to speak to a Careers Coach about this?                       

Contact RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 to book an appointment with the RCN Careers Service. Careers appointments are done over the telephone, so it's easy and convenient for you.

0345 772 6100

What's out there?

Once you've reflected upon who you are and what your values are, it's time for you to start researching your possible choices.
Applying for jobs

Explore different roles and profiles

Fancy a change in career direction but don't know where to start?

Use the Health Careers website to explore and research different roles within healthcare, and to find out what experience, skills or entry requirements you'll need.