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Deciding on a Direction

In order to be an effective decision maker, you need to assess your strengths and interests, take stock of resources available to you, explore your options, and determine the right course of action according to criteria important to you.

Deciding on a Direction and Making a Decision will introduce you to the process of weighing each alternative, considering benefits and obstacles to your options, evaluating possible scenarios, and making a decision that has you feeling confident that you’ve made your best major or career choice.

Making a Decision

Being effective at making a career decision requires time and a willingness to take a broad look at the factors that will have an impact on your decision, to evaluate each option by considering possible consequences and outcomes, and to then determine your preferred career path among all your options. A good decision is generally arrived at through an objective and analytical process as well as an intuitive inner knowing.

  • What information do I already have that will help my decision making? How can I use this information to influence my decision?
    • Use self-assessment results (values, personality, interests, achievements, preferred lifestyle, enthusiasms) to look for relatedness to possible careers.
    • Incorporate what I have learned from researching occupations, possible employers, and economic and workplace trends.
    What information do I still need? Which resources will be of help?
    • Determine what additional information will help you make a decision.
    • Take into account resources available to you (people, services, informational interviews, trade journals, professional associations, career-related websites).
    What are my occupational options and possible majors? How can I narrow my choices?
    • Select several likely career options (resulting & recommended from testing or from your own list of careers interests).
    • Use a step-by-step decision-making process to help decide on your best choice from career alternatives.
    • Weigh the pros and cons of each and compare among alternatives.
    What are the steps I need to take to help me make a good decision?
    • Clearly define the decision you wish to make (note examples above).
    • Focus on and list the benefits you’ll gain from each career. Take into account what you want to achieve in your profession, your preferred lifestyle, and opportunities you need for professional and personal growth. Knowing the benefits associated with each career choice is essential. Benefits provide the fuel for staying motivated when pursuing a career.
    • Next, consider the obstacles you will confront with each choice. What stands in the way of reaching each alternative? Are the obstacles manageable or insurmountable? Can you devise a way to resolve or eliminate each obstacle?
    • Once the benefits, the obstacles and the strategies for overcoming each obstacle are considered for all of your occupational options, create a list of pros and cons for each career choice.
    • Consider which alternatives best correspond to your preferred occupational role, to your interests and values, to what you want to professionally accomplish in work, and to your defined mission in life. Are any of your occupational options more likely to satisfy your criteria for a fulfilling career?
    • Next, make a decision. Voila!

    By gathering information, evaluating several career options and working your decision through a step-by-step process, you will arrive at the point where you can declare a career and major with confidence. Once you’ve decided on a “best fit” career path, you’ll next need to develop a career plan of specific steps and strategies to lead you to your career goal. Career Services will assist you with this process.

    As an added note, remember no decision is set in stone. Changes, new information, circumstances may cause you to reconsider your decision. That’s o.k. just be prepared to use the same decision-making process with your new career direction.