How Identifying Core Values Can Help Your Students Choose Their Future Career Path

How identifying Core Values Can Help Your Students Choose Their Future Career Path

Why should we help our students identify them? Identifying them helps our students focus on what is important and essential in their personal and academic lives. It encourages them to reflect on what makes them truly happy and fulfilled in all areas of life. Finally, this list of values can contribute to a specific set of criteria that a student can use when exploring careers, researching different routes, and searching for suitable third level institutions, by showing them what they need to prioritise. Of course, this is not the only factor to consider when helping your students choose their future career path, but it is one that can be overlooked, despite being an integral part of a student truly knowing themselves and choosing the future career path(s) that best suit them.


How can we help our students identify them? Ask your students to write down the times in their lives when they have been the - happiest - most fulfilled - proudest In this case, it may be helpful to ask them to do this exercise for times in their personal life and a separate one for times in their school life. In some cases, students may have the same experience where they felt the happiest, most fulfilled and proudest, but do try to get them to come up with at least 2 different life experiences.

Then for each of these times, ask your pupils to write down in bullet points:

At these times…

●    What were you doing?

●    Why is this important?

●    Were you with other people? Who?

●    What other factors contributed to your happiness?

●    What need was fulfilled?

●    What were the positive emotions or outcomes of these experiences?

●    Why was each experience truly important and memorable to you?

Next, share a link to a list of values like this one here with your students:

Give them a few minutes to read through it and ask for any explanations or clarifications they may need (especially if you have some learners with English as an Additional Language). Then ask them:

●    Based on these experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment, what are your top values in life/ what values were being met in those experiences? E.g. freedom, community, generosity, organisation, security etc.

You could ask them to complete this exercise like a Venn Diagram with each circle relating to each time and include any repeated values in the centre circle.

Students can list all their values and could then even filter them further by prioritising which one are the most important if they had to choose between value 1 and value 2, then choose between value 3 and value 4, and so forth.

How can they use this list in terms of careers? Each time a student suggests a new option, whether it be a career, a degree, a particular study pathway, a university, a country to study- when they research it, ask them to see if it aligns with their values. This means they need to research it more in depth in order to determine if it does or not.

Another great benefit of this Some of our students will be amazing entrepreneurs in the future and this exercise is one way to help them come up with lots of great ideas for a future business idea!

PSSSST… Even us adults can definitely benefit from this exercise when we start to reflect on what is a priority for us in a career, a new role, in a work environment, in a company, in colleagues, in a boss. etc. This is extremely helpful when we are planning to go for a new job, to change career and when we are faced with multiple job offers, this is a great way to help us choose the best one for us!

To learn more about the 7 other key factors, come to my GESS talk on, “The 8 key factors to consider when helping your students choose their future career path,” which takes place in the Wellbeing room at 12:20 on 17 November 2022.

Who is it for? This talk is for headteachers, assistant headteachers, principals, Heads of Sixth Form, Career Guidance Advisers and Counsellors, Form Tutors, PSHEE Teachers, and any member of staff, who works with students when they are choosing their subject options/ their third level course for their future career path.

Who am I?

My name is Sorcha Coyle and I've been teaching in the Gulf (Qatar and Dubai) for the past 10 years. I founded the Empowering Expat Teachers community in 2017. In addition to being a qualified teacher, I also have a:

 Postgraduate Certificate in Career Guidance and Development (University of West Scotland)

- MA in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching (King's College London)

I left teaching last year and became an Expat Career & Money Coach and I help expat teachers save & earn $100K+ with a 6-figure career & money strategy. I am:

- A Certified Professional Résumé/ CV Writer - A fully qualified Executive Coach and Mentor

- A Highlands Ability Battery Certified Career Consultant - A National Certified Financial Education Instructor

Let’s connect on LinkedIn-

See you at GESS! 17 November 2022 | 12:20 - 12:40 | Wellbeing Space | The 8 key factors to consider when helping your students choose their future career path )


There is never only one way to change careers…

I completely agree with Dawn Rosenberg McKay that crafting a specific, timed, measurable, and aspirational career action plan is one major part of advancing your career.

I’d go one step further with the flexibility tip and have 2-3 career action plans to reflect the 2-3 different routes to achieving your career goal. There is never only one single ideal way to secure a dream job, change career, etc.

Give yourself 2-3 different ways/ routes to fulfil your career goal- one route might be quicker, one may take longer while the other might align more with your values.

Remember- all routes are valid once they lead you to your desired outcome!

#job #change #change #careercoach #careerguidance

By Sorcha Coyle