Whilst there can be complicating factors that sometimes make career decision-making difficult, there are steps which you can follow to help move towards a decision that will likely achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
There are many different models of decision-making which can act as a guide. Outlined for you below is the ASSESS-EXPLORE-DECIDE-ACT model. Can you apply this model to your own circumstances? Which of the recommended action steps have you already taken? Which will you pursue – and when?
|Objectives||Focus for choosing a career||Some recommended action steps|
Identify the decision to be made and outcomes desired. What do I want in a career?
|Helps me accomplish my professional and personal goals. Matches my interests, values and strengths.||Register with UNSW Careers and Employment - review the range of assistance they can offer me. Start creating my career portfolio. Seek interesting work experience to "sample" career fields.|
Gather information and identify alternatives. What information do I need?
|Identifies possible career fields, entry-level graduate opportunities and what it will take for me to succeed. Acknowledges the possible longer-term outlook for different career fields. Incorporates my work environment preferences.||Attend career workshops run by UNSW Careers and Employment. Online research. Talk to alumni and others from the career fields I am considering. Seek a summer vacation or other placement.|
Weigh evidence and choose from the alternatives. What will lead to me achieving my desired outcomes? What might obstruct me?
|Helps narrow my preferences from the several career fields that might be a good fit. Tests desirability and my motivation levels for each option.||Make a list of the pros and cons of each alternative. Discuss what I have learned so far with my family and closest friends. Attend an Individual Assistance appointment with UNSW Careers and Employment to discuss my findings. Work towards a definite decision.|
What action should I take? By when?
|Locates organisations who employ graduates (and others) in my chosen field. Clarifies the personal qualities, skills, knowledge and (possibly) prior work experience required to be competitive.||Prepare for my job search. Develop my resume, cover letter and interview skills. Choose electives and extra-curricular activities to hone the most-needed skills and strengths.|
If career decision-making is becoming a struggle, it might be a good idea to look at factors that may be hindering you. For example, you could be using an ineffective decision-making style or there could be certain information-related or personal obstacles preventing you from moving forward. By thinking about these possibilities, you may not only learn more about yourself, but also discover how to change your approach in order to overcome these issues.
For more information see Blocks to quality career decision making.