The arrows in the decision-making diagram point in both directions, indicating that there is movement in the process. Throughout your life, you may find yourself revisiting this process on several occasions. Just as people and their individual situations change, so can their career decisions.
There are no quick fixes or sudden answers associated with the process. The career decision-making components explained below can offer valuable assistance in helping you make well-informed career decisions. Making career decisions requires a commitment of time and energy.
Taking a proactive approach to your career-decision making will help to strengthen the correlation between career fulfillment and life satisfaction. Most of us will spend more time planning a vacation than planning or managing our career development.
Career decision-making is a process with five major elements or components:
Steps Toward a Career Decision
STEP #1 – DISCOVERING YOURSELF
- What are my interests? Values? Skills? Personality preferences? Strengths?
- What are three careers that interest me?
- What are three college majors that I want to explore?
STEP #2 – EXPLORING OPTIONS
- What information or individuals can help me to explore my college or career options?
- What classes or activities can help me to develop my strengths?
- How can I learn more about informational interviews, job shadowing, exploratory internships, service learning, civic honors, or student organizations to gain firsthand experience?
STEP #3 –MAKING A DECISION
- How much time and energy am I willing to invest to make a career decision?
- Who is part of my support system to help me evaluate the pros and cons?
- What are my top priorities to consider for this decision?
STEP #4 — TAKING ACTION
- How can I strengthen my readiness for success in a college major?
- What is one goal that I have? How can I reach it? What action can I take now?
- Which one of my talents can I develop through classes or outside activities?
STEP #5 –EVALUATING THE DECISION
- Is my decision a realistic option?
- Is there anything preventing me from achieving this goal? What would it mean if I didn’t have any barriers?
- Who in my support system can assist me with achieving this goal?