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Career Decision Making Guide

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The three step process in the career decision planning requires that you first make an informed career decision.

Career decision making is a dynamic and ongoing process where your knowledge of self, your values, interests, temperament, financial needs, physical work requirements or limitations, etc., the effects of past experiences, new information, and changes in your life situation and environment all intertwine.

It requires constant review of decisions already made and consideration of decisions yet to be made.

Good career decision making requires you to engage in a process that requires you to:

1. examine and recognize personal values

2. identify, gather, and use relevant information.

3. understand and use an effective strategy for converting information into action.

Each career decision is limited by what you are capable of now or in the future, by your ability to identify alternatives, and by what you are willing to do.

Skillful career decision making requires you to be focused, flexible and open to new learning.

The following guidelines and questions to keep in mind to help you with decision making.

1. Define the problem. State the real problem, not the surface problem. State the problem in specific terms, as a question.

2. State the goal clearly. What outcome do you want from this decision?

3. List the initial alternative solutions. Which are the safe ones? Which require risk? What are the outcomes of each solution?

4. Collect information and expand the list of alternatives. What kind of information do need? Where can you obtain it? Is it relevant to the problem? list additional solutions or options.

5. Compare several alternatives with what you know about yourself, your values, your commitments to others, your resources, and your constraints.

6. Take action on your choice. How can you implement your choice? What action can you take now? What action can you take later?

7. Review your choice periodically.

8. Take a new decision based on new situations.


  • Define the problem
  • State the goal clearly
  • List the initial alternative solutions
  • Collect information and expand the list of alternatives
  • Compare several alternatives
  • Choose one alternative
  • Take action on your choice
  • Review
  • Make a new decision

Probably the most beneficial outcome of learning effective career decision making skills is that it gives you a feeling of control over what you can do.

Careful planning decision making will help you make informed, responsible, and wise choices that will lead to greater career satisfaction.



Once you have made a career decision and a choice of an occupation, then develop an Action Plan.

An action plan begins with the identification of short-term and long-term goals. Before you set short-term and long-term career goals, you should have taken informal or formal assessments.

Using the results from these assessments, as well as labor market information, identify careers that will match your abilities, interests, values, personality, development stage, financial needs, transportation and family needs.

An effective career decision plan broadens your horizons and make the achievement of your dreams far more likely. An effective career plan requires you to set both long-term and short-term goals and they are equally important.

Long-term goals give you a more clear idea of the things to accomplish in the long run as they are usually big and central to your life. The steps taken to reach long-term goals are short-term goals.

Short term goals are achievable within a relatively short period of time (six months to a year). Short-term goals may also be accomplished daily or attained within a month.

For example, your short term goal may be taking a minimum wage job while simultaneously pursuing post secondary education in preparation for a career, or your short-term goal might be taking several part-time jobs until you find a stable full-time job.

A long term goal takes much more time to reach. For example, if your long-term goal is to become a doctor, then you need to set aside eight years out of your life to pursue a medical career.



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