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What are your skills?

Working out your skills is the first step to deciding what career is best for you. Whether your speciality lies in physical tasks or working with computers, it is valuable to different types of jobs, and there are different ways to work out what they are.

Your skills will generally fall into one of three areas:

  • Employability skills - a list of seven skills employers have said are important in the workplace.
  • Transferable skills - skills that aren't specific to a certain job, but can be applied to a number of different roles.
  • Specialist skills - skills that are specific to a job, for example cooking if you want to become chef.

If you're looking for more information on these and how to figure them out, check out the two posts linked to below.

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How do I know what careers my skills match with?

Even if you know what your skills are, it isn’t always easy to work out what jobs you’re best suited to. Thankfully, there are a range of different tools online you can use to help.

These include:

Deciding what careers suit you will take some time and research, as your own interests will probably be different to most of your friends. However, the tools above should help you find some careers to then investigate further.

If you have a disability, there are some specific resources to help you get into work. The Firstport article linked below is a good piece for further information, and Work and Income’s Modification Grant helps people with disabilities pay for workplace changes or equipment.

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Think about your work values

Working somewhere that fits in with your own values is important if you’re going to enjoy your career. No two jobs are exactly the same, and figuring out what your values are is an important step when thinking about types of work.

Some key things to consider include:

  • How do you work with others?
  • What hours you want to work?
  • How challenging you want your work to be?
  • Personal, political and cultural values.

For an example of someone talking through their work values and their career, check out the video with Keven Mealamu below. 

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Balancing a career and general life

Although you want to enjoy and take pride in your job, you need to make sure you balance it against your day-to-day life. Finding time for friends, family and other interests are important for your wellbeing.

When deciding what career you want to go into, consider if you will have to:

  • work long days
  • work outside of usual business hours, such as weekends
  • give up time with your friends and family.

If so, you might want to keep on thinking about other career options, depending on what kind of balance you're looking for. Sometimes you won't know until you actually start the job, though you should still try and aim for the work-life balance that works best for you.

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Key websites

  • has information on everything from how to apply for scholarships to writing CVs, helping you decide what career is right for you.
  • Employment New Zealand: Employment New Zealand is able to give you advice on everything from hours and wages to helping you get into work in the first place.
  • Work and Income: If you need some support, whether that’s with getting into work or because you’re in a low-income job, Work and Income are available to help out.