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SIR/TV Strategy of Career Decision-Making

SIR/TV is a mnemonic to help simplify, organize, and remember complex theoretical ideas about career development. It helps you to holistically and systematically evaluate all important career factors. The illustration below highlights the overlapping nature of these factors.

Click on each of the SIR/TV tabs to learn more. Then, use the SIR/TV Decision-Making Matrix as a tool to refine your career choice.

S = Skills

What can I do?

What skills are in demand?

How can I identify my skills?

Skills are an important factor in career planning because they are what you do and what the employer pays you to do. Learning about the types of skills needed to be successful in an occupation will help you create action plans to develop needed skills.

Skills are what you do in the classroom, on the job and at home. Some skills are fun to do and come naturally, other skills are less natural. Many skills can be developed through instruction and practice. You develop and use transferable skills while attending college. Can you think of skills you need when you: are in the classroom, interact with your peers, study for an exam, lead a study group, participate in clubs and organizations, or complete an internship?

You can also use skills assessments such as the SkillScan and the "Skills Assessment" on Focus 2 to see how your skills transfer to the world of work.

Categorizing Skills

There are three groups of skills.


These skills may also be referred to as character traits. They explain how you do things rather than what you do. Examples include:

  • Has lots of energy
  • Gives attention to details
  • Gets along well with people


These skills relate directly to a particular subject matter, major, job category, procedure, or language and can be mental or physical. Examples include:

  • Mental: Identifying the names of the parts of the human body, knowing chemical terms or legal codes, writing or speaking a second language
  • Physical: These types of skills are focused toward a specific task or job, able to give a car a tune-up, paint, sew, weld, dunk a basketball


These are skills you have been developing over your life that you function. They are called œtransferable because they are used across academic disciplines and job settings. They tend to accumulate and become more sophisticated over time. Examples include:

  • Writing: Your ability to œwrite complex sentences has grown since you first learned to write in elementary school.
  • Leadership: Your ability to manage a group of people to accomplish a project may not be fully developed because you have not had much experience.

Employers typically prefer hiring new employees with strong functional skills because the person has already demonstrated that they œknow how to learn. The employer will tend to have confidence that the applicant will be able to learn specific jobs skills later. This helps explain why people with different college degrees can be found doing the same job.

Skills Identification

Here are three suggestions for identifying your skills:

  • Write a story about something you have accomplished in the last few years that you feel great about. In your story, describe all the steps required to accomplish your goal and all the actions (verbs) you did to complete the goal. The action verbs in your story are some of your motivated skills. Repeat this activity until you begin to feel you have identified your self-management, content, and transferable skills.
  • Complete a SkillScan Professional Pack Card Sort assessment in Career Services.
  • Look at the skills sections of career planning resource books and list those that you have. There are several useful lists found in books in the Career Café Library.

Skills in Demand

Career Services

I = Interests

What do I like to do?

I like so many things that I can't decide which to choose...

How can I identify my Holland Code?

Interests are what most people focus on when they begin the career planning process. Psychologists say that a person's interests stabilize about the age of 25, however, broad interest patterns can often be identified early in the college student's educational program. It is these interest patterns that are useful to understand when career planning.

The most widely used strategy to identify interests is the Holland Code. All of the assessments offered at USU have some relationship to the Holland Code. See below for various formal and informal assessments.

Informal Holland Code Assessments

  1. Try the Careers Interest Game to informally guess your Holland Code.
  2. Go through the Career Exploration Workshop (in person or online).
  3. Take the "Work Interest Assessment" on FOCUS.
  4. Take the "Strong" interest inventory.

R = Realities

How much money do I want to make?

Where do I want to live?

What level of education am I willing to obtain?

Part of understanding more about yourself involves understanding what you want out of life and how you are going to get there. In addition to the above mentioned questions, consider the following: What does a typical day on the job look like? What is the employment outlook? If you want to have a family, how does traveling/moving fit in the overall picture? Is there opportunity for career growth?

Below are some links you might find helpful in your research.

Career One Stop

Occupational Outlook Handbook

O*NET Online (Click œFind Occupations)

T = Temperament

What is temperament?

Which general temperaments describe me best?

Why is it helpful to understand my personality preferences?

Your temperament or personality can be described as your preferred way of being and therefore serves as a motivator of your behavior.

Assessments such as the "Personality Assessment" on Focus and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help you identify your natural preferences and present occupations where those preferences are best utilized.

V = Values

What matters to me?

Is there personal meaning behind my work?

What work values are most important to me?

You can think of work values as aspects of work that are important to you. Understanding your work values will help you identify career areas that are more likely to contribute to your work satisfaction. Below are six basic work values. Identify your two highest work values and see what careers use them most.

Achievement: Look for jobs that let you see your best abilities. Look for work where you can see the results of your efforts. Explore jobs where you can get the feeling of accomplishment.

Independence: Look for jobs where they let you do things on your own initiative. Explore work where you can make decisions on your own.

Recognition: Explore jobs with good possibilities for advancement. Look for work with prestige or with the potential for leadership.

Relationships: Look for jobs where your co-workers are friendly. Look for work that lets you be of service to others. Explore jobs that do not make you do anything that goes against your sense of right and wrong.

Support: Look for jobs where the company stands behind its workers and where the workers are comfortable with management™s style of supervision. Explore work in companies with a reputation for competent, considerate, and fair management.

Working Conditions: Consider pay, job security, and good working conditions when looking at jobs. Look for work that suits your work style. Some people like to be busy all the time, or work alone, or have many different things to do. Explore jobs where you can take best advantage of your particular work style.

Use O*NET to Find Occupations that Share Your Values

  • Go to
  • Select œAdvanced Search and "Select Values" to learn how your values connect with the world of work.
  • Select "Find Occupations" and choose a search strategy to learn about your values.
    1. Keyword or O*NET-SOC: Enter a word, phrase, or title and scroll down to see prominent values.
    2. O*NET Descriptor: Select the highest and next highest work values to see a list of careers that utilize that value as they are ranked by Job Zone. Job Zones (1-5) depict the level of training, education, and experience needed to perform a job.