Identify your VIPS

If you want to make good, informed decisions about majors and careers, first look at your values, interests, personality, and skills (VIPS). You won't use all of them within your career, but your BEST major and career choices allow you to incorporate many aspects of your VIPS.

Values are deeply held beliefs about what you MUST have in your life for it to be worth living. Some folks want “enough” money—however they define it. Some want security or stability. Others want power or prestige. Maybe you want creativity or independence. Values act as a filter for the other pieces. It is important to identify and to consider your values as you approach career decisions since your work will influence the ways in which you can live out your values.

Interests are things you LIKE to do, can get immersed in doing, and lose track of time while involved in them. It is likely you won't use all your interests within your career. However, if you really enjoy a certain task or activity, you are likely to stick with it long enough to master it. Think about how you can incorporate your interests into your major and career planning. It will be easier to stay motivated!

Personality is your way of doing things—your style. This includes things like whether you need to be around people or need quiet time to recharge your energy level. How do you process information? Are you detail or big-picture oriented? How do you make decisions? Are you one who uses your head or your heart? Do you prefer your time to be scheduled or spontaneous? Careers can be more comfortable for people with complementary personalities.

Skills are those things you do well. These can be natural talents, strengths, or the abilities you have acquired through education or training. The abilities you do well and LOVE are called motivated skills. You may have skills using data and information, working with equipment or things, or valuable people skills. During your time at IU Indianapolis, refine your existing skills as you develop new ones. If you struggle to identify your skills, ask yourself what you do well, where you have been successful, or even where others have sought out your help. These are your skills and strengths!


  • What are your personal beliefs?
  • What are your filters or deal breakers?
  • What principles or priorities guide you?


  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What topics or activities excite you?


  • What is your style?
  • What are your preferences?


  • What are your talents, strengths, and learned abilities?
  • What do you do well?

Are you struggling to identify your VIPS? Assessments can help you find the right words to describe what makes you unique.

If you have questions or need a resource in an accessible format, please contact Mike Slocum.

Learn about best-fit majors and careers for you

Download the interest code booklet