The Career Development Process

Many of us spend more time researching major purchases than we do our future careers. When buying a car, computer, or cell phone most of us research various brands, compare prices, and talk with others about their experiences with different brand products. Yet when it comes to our future careers many of us are less thorough. Our careers will last much longer than these products, so we owe it to ourselves to commit time and effort to this process.

Career development is:

  • a time-consuming process- it will not happen over night
  • an ongoing, lifelong process
  • an active process with us as the driving force, gathering information, setting goals, and making decisions
  • an introspective process of self-assessment and reflection
  • a holistic process which incorporates our changing needs, wants, relationships, and experiences with the ever-changing world of work

Choosing a Major/Career

Understand Self:

  • What are you interested in?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your values?

Explore Majors and Careers:

  • Research careers/majors you are interested in. (Would you want to do this on a daily basis?)
  • What are the realities and expectations?
  • How much schooling do you need?
  • Evaluate each alternative-pros/cons. Is it feasible?


  • Experience different careers through informational interviews, job shadowing/observing, internships, volunteering, and part-time employment. Talk with people in the field.
  • Tap into your life experience! What can you learn from your past experiences (jobs, volunteering, etc.) What specifically did you like/dislike about each?
  • Develop relationships with faculty and professionals in your field of interest.

Set Goals:

  • What do you need to do next?
  • How will you achieve your career goals? Timeframe?
  • What other resources can you explore?


  • You must take action to achieve your goals!
  • Any step forward is an accomplishment.
  • You can re-assess after taking action.
  • Remember indecision is a decision!