The Preparation

What you bring to the table

By Michael "Dr. Woody" Woodward, PhD

In my second blog for, I wrote about the importance of introspection in navigating college life and creating a strong career foundation for your future. I laid out a model for taking personal responsibility called VIPER. I started with values (the “V” in VIPER) and how values play a role in the choices you make throughout your college experience. The next step in the introspective process is examining your intrinsics (the “I” in VIPER).

I use the word intrinsics as a catch-all to describe what you bring to the table as a unique individual. We all have our own mix of personality, experiences, relationships… that combine to create a unique package in terms of what we are able to accomplish as students, interns, and employees.

In my newly released book, The YOU Plan, I describe intrinsics in the following way:

“Think of your intrinsics as a deck of cards. All of our lives are shuffled differently, which means our cards are all spread across our life decks in very different ways. Some of your cards are close to the top and readily accessible whereas others are buried somewhere near the bottom and haven’t been played in a while.”

In other words, your intrinsics are that which you have within you that can be leveraged for value in your internship, volunteer, and work-study opportunities. For the sake of simplicity, I have broken intrinsics down into six elements:

  • Personality
  • Affiliations
  • Contributions
  • Experiences
  • Relationships
  • Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities (KSAs)

Before pursuing any kind of internship or work opportunity it’s important to take stock of these intrinsics. Consider your personality for example. Personality is a critical part of who you are and how you operate. Think of personality as your natural disposition or tendency to want to express yourself in a certain way. Because this is such a part of who you are, you must understand how to harness this element of your intrinsics for positive gain. The idea is to think about how to best express the positive aspects of your personality both on paper and in person.

Overall, it starts with asking yourself what it is you are doing to explore and develop each of these elements. Success throughout your college career requires really knowing the value that you are building through your education and experiences. The ability to harness and articulate this value will help you build your resume and create an effective pitch that you can use with potential internship and employment opportunities.

Remember, your intrinsics are what you arrived on this planet with and everything you have gained since. Be sure to spend time thinking out them. In the next blog I will begin to address each of the six intrinsics in more depth, so stay tuned!

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.