Home > Resources for Students > 7-step Decision-Making Model

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Life?

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Life?
Decisions, decisions, decisions! Choosing a career path or course of action essentially boils down to a career decision-making process. The effectiveness of your career decision-making relies heavily on the information available to you at the decision-making point. Information is power. The more information you have the easier it is to make a decision. Oftentimes an inability to choose one career path over another is an indication that you do not have sufficient information. The trick is to figure out what information you are lacking and then gather and analyze that information. Whether choosing a career path or deciding what to do about a job offer, the following 7-step Career Decision-Making Model will help give you structure while processing and identifying the necessary information.

Career Decision-Making Model
Step One: Identify the Decision to be Made
Before you begin gathering information, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what it is you are trying to decide. Some decisions you might be facing could include:

1. What kind of work do I want to do?

2. What kind of training do I need?

3. What should I choose for a major?

4. What do I want to do after graduation?

Should I get a job? What kind of job do I want?

Should I go to graduate school?

Should I travel and see the world?

Should I be a board head?


Step Two: Know Yourself (Self-Assessment)
Before you begin exploring careers and trying to identify jobs and careers which will prove satisfying, you must first develop a true understanding of you--your skills, interests, values, and personality characteristics. Questions you may want to ask yourself are:

1. What can I do best?

2. What are my strengths and weaknesses?

3. What are my most prominent skills and abilities?

4. What skills do I most want to use on the job?

5. What skills do I need to acquire?

1. What am I interested in doing?

2. What activities have I enjoyed the most?

3. What kinds of people would I like to work with?

4. What kind of job setting would I enjoy?

1. What satisfactions do I seek in a career?

2. In what ways must I be challenged and rewarded on the job?

3. In what type of work environments would I be happy?

1. What personal qualities do I possess that will help me on the job?

2. How will my personal style influence my career choice?

3. How will I get along with my supervisor? co-workers?

Step Three: Begin Identifying Options (Career Exploration)
To continue gathering information and researching careers, you will need to start identifying your options. Questions you might ask yourself at this point are:

1. At this point in time, What are my options?

2. Do I have a strong interest in other types of jobs or careers?

3. What other types of jobs or careers should I be considering?

Step Four: Gather Information and Data
If you have completed the first three steps you should have a list of careers and jobs which your plan to explore and research in more depth. You will now:

1. Examine the information and resources you already have

2. Identify what additional information and resources you will need

3. Seek out and utilize new information

Step Five: Evaluate Options that will Solve the Problem
If you have completed your career research, you are now ready to evaluate each of the options you have identified:

1. Identify the pros and cons of each alternative.

2. Identify the values and needs that are satisfied by each.

3. Identify the risks involved with each alternative.

4. Project the probable future consequences of selecting each.

Step Six: Select One of the Options
Based on the information you have gathered and analyzed, you should now be able to choose one of the options. Do you have enough information to choose one option over another? If not you might need to do more research

Step Seven: Design a Course of Action to Implement the Decision
Having chosen one of the options, you can now begin developing and implementing a plan of action. Ask yourself:

1. What information or resources are needed to complete each step?

2. What are the obstacles to implementing my decision and how can I overcome them?

3. Identify steps to implement the decision.

4. Identify when to begin and end each step.

5. Identify the information or resources needed to complete each step.

© 2010 Columbia Gorge Community College. All rights reserved.
Website feedback ~ archive