Self Awareness

Selfawareness 01


Self-awareness is the ability to identify, articulate, and develop one's values, interests, skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to personal growth and professional success.

Assessing Your Level of Competency

Graduate School is a time to take advantage of the courses, workshops, and resources available that will allow you to assess your progress and broaden this competency. Ask yourself the following questions to dive deep into your self-assessment:

  • Can I identify areas for continual growth, and pursue and apply feedback?
  • Do I seek and embrace development opportunities?
  • Can I professionally advocate for myself and others?
  • Do I consider other perspectives as related to my journey?
  • Can I answer interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself?” and "What is your biggest strength/weakness?"
  • Can I provide examples of experiences where my skills have been used successfully?
  • Can I introduce myself in ways that connect my Values, Skills, Personality, and Interests (VIPS) with my career goals?
  • Do I seek the perspectives of people from different backgrounds when making decisions?
  • Do I have mentors who help guide various aspects of my life?
  • Do I reflect on different situations and how I handled them? Can I apply those lessons in future situations?


  • I have completed assessments to identify my Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills (VIPS).
  • I reflect on my experiences to identify ways to improve in the future.
  • I am aware that the people around me influence my life's journey.
  • I analyze the actions of others to learn from their decision making process.
  • I have a mentor who can help me recognize my areas of strength and weakness.
  • I can articulate how my VIPS relate to various career paths of interest.
  • I seek opportunities to apply my skills and develop new ones.
  • I help others recognize their own areas of strength and weakness.
  • I incorporate various perspectives into my decision-making process.

Building Your Level of Competency

Build on your level of this competency through the following:

  • Take the Values, Interests, Personality, and Skills (VIPS) assessments found on the Career Assessment website page.
  • Explore the skills and development opportunities via the resources available on and The Graduate School Professional Development events page.
  • Perform online research into career paths through Center for Career Development resources like ImaginePhD, MyIDP, PathwayU, LinkedIn, Vault, etc.
  • Conduct informational interviews to discover how VIPS are integrated in various career paths.
  • Speak with your Faculty Advisor and other colleagues for their analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Seek a mentor to help guide your professional development experiences.
  • Develop a professional introduction ("elevator pitch") that ties together your VIPS and experiences.
  • Become involved with campus service activities through offices such as Grad Life and the Graduate Student Government to become a mentor for undergraduate and early stage graduate students to help them build their self awareness.
  • Reflect on a recently successful project. What contributed to your success? What skills did you use? Did you enjoy this project? Could this project relate to potential career options down the road?

Communicating this Competency

There are many opportunities to communicate your self awareness skills to others; through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, 30-second professional introduction, networking, etc. Start with statements like the samples below:

  • During a conversation with a Mentor: I have not yet developed X skill. Can you help me develop it? Can you help me identify my other areas of strength/weakness?
  • During an informational interview: My summer internship helped me realize I want to seek opportunities to collaborate with a team in my next role. How are teams integrated into the work you do at XYZ company?
  • During a job interview: One area of growth is X, and I am currently doing A, B, and C to develop those skills.
  • During an interview or networking conversation if you switched career interests or research topics, consider these questions when crafting your statements: Why? How did you know? How did you incorporate your skills/interests into the decision process?

Career Ready Competency Tracking Tool

Download the Career Ready Competency Tracking Tool one time from the main Career Competencies webpage, and utilize one document to track the development of all your competencies.