Step 1: Self-Reflection

Taking time to think about who you are and from which aspects you gain energy is very important in finding a position. Learn all about it here.

What is Self-reflection?

Self-reflection (also known as “personal reflection”) is taking the time to think about, meditate on, evaluate, and give serious thought to your behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, motivations, and desires. It’s the process of diving deep into your thoughts and emotions and motivations and determining the great, “Why?” behind them. It allows you to analyze your life from both a macro and micro level. At a macro level, you can evaluate the overall trajectory of your life. You can see where you’re headed, determine whether you’re happy with the direction, and make adjustments as necessary. At a micro level, you can evaluate your responses to particular circumstances and events.

To gain more insight about yourself, four main questions are the starting point. These questions can be found below, answering them provides clarity and focus.

Who am I?

Knowing who you are is reflecting on the past. What shaped you? Who influenced you? What decisions did you make? Visualizing the life you lived up until today is a way to discover more about yourself. The Life Lines (download) is a proven method in (career)coaching to reflect on your life so far.

What am I good at?

Core qualities

It is good to know what you are good at, and what your pitfalls are. The Core Quadrant (download), founded by Daniel Ofman, helps to find out more about your core qualities and your pitfalls. In a short video, he explains how this quadrant works. Asking others feedback on yourself, may reinforce the qualities you have, but can also reveal your blind spots and show points to develop. It is ok to not be good at everything and to include this in your navigation manual. 360 degree feedback is therefore a useful way to complete the self-reflection.


Qualities are given by nature, skills are nurtured. So, what are the skills you learned throughout life so far; during your study, during volunteer work, during sports or hobby’s or elsewhere. We divide hard skills (it skills, languages, lab skills, etc.) and soft skills – or personal skills (organizing, planning, communicating, etc.). You can develop these skills through education, extracurricular activities and side jobs or other work.

As it is important to know what skills you are good (to show on your CV), or what skills you want to learn more about, we created an overview of important skills and where you can go in Wageningen to learn more about these skills.

What career do I want?

Once you have reflected on all these topics, you can start thinking about where to work. Not every organization will be a perfect fit. Here are some things to keep in mind while you start searching: Size of the company; a big corporate or a start-up ? An informal or more formal culture? NGO, governmental or commercial? International or local?

Most likely you will end up working with other colleagues, working in a team or perhaps more independently. Knowing more about your performance within a team is helpful. The Belbin Test will reveal your role in a team.

How do I get the job?

Once you completed the self-reflection, it is time to find that job and start the search process. Time to update your CV, your LinkedIn profile and brand yourself in a way that describes you best! Start broadening your network, if not already done so. Start looking for job descriptions that match with your qualities, your skills, your values. Create a personal motivation letter and if required, practice a mock interview. Student Career Services is here to help you during that last step in landing that job or internship that fits you! We offer a variety of career trainings and workshops to help you for that final step.

Knowing who you are and what will be your next step after graduation is not only about the academic knowledge you gained at Wageningen University & Research. It is about the complete package that makes your personality unique. Once you combine your academic rigor – your professional development – together with your personal traits, you will create a stable foundation to take the next step to enter the labor market.

Once personal and professional development go hand in hand together, you are well prepared for that next step. You will become more aware about who you are and what talents and ambitions you have. This way, you can gear yourself into the direction that will fit you best.

Personal development and ways to assess yourself

You can develop yourself further with a variety of courses and modules. Also, there is a variety of tests available to assess yourself.

Personal career advice

A self-reflective conversation with our career coach can give you clarity.

Career events

We offer different workshops that can help you self-reflect, such as for example, our workshop Navigating your Career.

Curricular activities

Personal Motivation Assessment (PMA)

This course is offered as an elective course for Bachelor and Master students. You will get the opportunity to increase your self-awareness via different assignments. Via the workbooks of the Motivational Compass you will learn more about your intrinsic motivation, your motives and how to make conscious study and career choices.

Career Exploration (MOS Module)

The MOS Module Career Exploration is offered as an elective course for Master students and is a follow up of PMA. Via different assignments you will learn how to link your personal qualities to career opportunities. You will apply this altogether when creating your personal profile and writing your application letter.

Academic Consultancy Training (ACT)

Academic Consultancy Training course (ACT) provides you the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team on a specific question or challenge for a commissioner. A great way to learn for yourself what it is like working in a team. Listening, communicating, presenting, delegating are key for a good end result. A coach will give practical feedback on your role in the ACT team.

Extracurricular activities

Online career modules

WUR Student Career Services is in close collaboration with career centers of other universities. Via this network, you can make use of the online career modules of Maastricht University for free to improve your skills.

Belbin teamroles test

The Belbin test shows you what kind of role you take within a team.

Rose of Leary

This test is about your behavior and how this influences others and vice versa.

Inspiration for self-reflection

There are many videos and books in which you can get inspiration for your own career. We made a selection of these for you, which you might find helpful for your self-reflection.

Continue to step 2: Orientation >