Career Development Center

Career Planning

Decision-Making and Goal Setting Exercise

WHY BOTHER?

Thinking about making decisions, setting goals, and taking action towards achieving success in your life can be somewhat overwhelming to you right now.  It’s tempting to listen to the voice inside your head that tells you, “Work hard, do your best, and let whatever happens happen”.  There’s only one problem with this choice....it takes most of the control for life “direction” out of your hands.  Goal planning helps you take charge of many of the key elements that ultimately will give form to your future career, your education, and your life in general.  Putting your goals in writing, helps motivate you to proceed towards achieving them. 

Step 1: Identify your career and college major goals or objectives.
  Example: Deciding on a few occupational areas of interest to explore.
  Example: Deciding on an academic major, minor, and/or coursework plan.
 
Goal#1:___________________________________________________________
Goal#2____________________________________________________________

Step 2: Determine your potential options/alternatives
 
Ten Exciting Career Possibilities to Explore:

  1. ________________________________________________________________
  2. ________________________________________________________________
  3. ________________________________________________________________
  4. ________________________________________________________________
  5. ________________________________________________________________
  6. ________________________________________________________________
  7. ________________________________________________________________
  8. ________________________________________________________________
  9. ________________________________________________________________
  10. _______________________________________________________________

Top Three Academic Majors of Interest:

  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________
  3. _____________________________

Step 3: Research, Explore, and Gather Information – Ask Yourself:

 Have I investigated each option or alternative enough to determine its value to me by reading about it, talking to related professionals, or experiencing it first hand?
 If I’m lacking information, what additional data or advice do I need or what activities could I participate in to help me make a more informed decision?

Examples:  Research Career Library or internet resources, conduct informational interviews with professionals or professors, volunteer, get an internship or job in a field of interest.

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Step 4:  Evaluate the pros and cons of each choice

In order to begin evaluating your potential career and major options, look back at Step 2 and consider the possible major and career options that you’ve listed.  Choose one top career of interest and one top major of interest and answer the questions below:  

One of my top career interests is ____________________.

  1. In what way is this career interest compatible with my most preferred values, passions, and skills?

  2. Does this prospect excite me enough to give me the “extraordinary drive” I’d need to deal with the challenges that will come with this line of work?

  3. Do I have the personal resources needed to make this a feasible option, such as a commitment to the level of education that it requires, the ability to develop the skills necessary, the support from others, etc.

  4. Are there road blocks to this option such as the need to relocate, availability of jobs, financial rewards, etc. If so, what are they and can they be conquered? If not, what may be some back up choices that would provide me with similar rewards and “extraordinary drive”?

One of the top Majors that I’m considering is:
______________________________________.

  1. In what way is this major compatible with my most preferred values, interests, and skills?

  2. Does this prospect excite me enough to give me the “extraordinary drive” I’d need to deal with the challenges that will come with this field of study?

  3. Do I have the personal resources needed to make this a feasible option, such as a commitment to the coursework and program requirements, the ability to develop the academic skills necessary, the support from others, etc.? 
     

Complete one of these Step 4 questionnaires for each career or major option that you considering.

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