Making Career Choices

The first step in Career Planning should be to gather information about yourself to assist in making a decision about a career. You should develop and change to an understanding of self-including values, interest, aptitudes, abilities, personal traits, and desired life style, and become aware of the interrelationship between self and occupational choice.

Identify Your Interests

Take a few minutes to brainstorm everything that you’re interested in onto a piece of paper. Don’t judge or censor yourself – just put it all down. The list can include anything! The process of choosing a major often starts with this simple step. These are the things you like to do, the things in life that have captured your interest. Ask your – self a few more questions to discover other areas of interest.

  • What activities are you drawn to?
  • If you had free time this weekend, what would you choose to do?
  • What topics do you like to read about?
  • How do you answer when people ask you what you’re interested in? Why?

Now, keep these interests in mind. It’s a piece of the puzzle as you determine which major will fit you best.

Explore Your Values

Having a major that matches your values is essential. Few people can stand spending so much time with a subject that ethically doesn’t fit. And, once you get out into the real world, you’ll feel much more committed to a job that you value. What does that mean to you – valuing your work? How do you hope to feel about the major and, later, the job that you ultimately choose? Here are a few other values-oriented questions to ask yourself:

  • What classes have felt most worthwhile to you so far?
  • Why did you place that value on them?
  • What are the key values you hope to have in the workplace? Making a difference? Making money? Making a reputation?

Your values can be one of your guides as you search for that fit.

Examine Your “Fit”

As you’re examining your interests, values and abilities, don’t forget to note the fine print when it comes to your institution. There may be some details associated with certain major that deserve careful consideration.

Acknowledge Your Abilities

Chances are that you’re able to do quite a few things! Just look at what you’re able to accomplish in your academic, social, work and extracurricular life. These abilities can lend a clue as you determine which major to pursue.

Career Service offers a Career Assessment/Computerized Evaluation that assist individuals with determining a Career that may best suite their interest. This computerized Guidance program act as an assistant for students who are uncertain about which career/major and industry would be a better choice for them. The system offers in-depth information on thousands of occupational fields as well as educational institutions offering programs of study selected by the students.


is an easy-to-use, comprehensive career exploration and information system. The Choices databases of occupations, post-secondary schools, and financial aid awards provide many choices for you. Individuals approach career decision-making from different perspectives. You may have a specific career area in mind, or you may be looking for information about a number of occupations.

Choices can meet your needs in career exploration and decision making. These needs include:

  • obtaining information about specific occupations
  • sorting occupations according to their potential to meet your personal needs, preferences, or expectations
  • expanding or reducing the number of career possibilities for you to consider
  • exploring career alternatives based on your personal priorities and values
  • identifying appropriate training and/or education alternatives; and
  • verifying appropriateness of your pre-conceived career considerations

Choices help you to analyze and sort through vast amounts of important information about occupations, educational institutions, programs of study and financial aid sources. It can easily show you the connection between an occupation, the program of study that lead to that occupation, and which institutions offer those programs of study. If you need to know about sources of financial aid, Choices can search for information regarding those too.

In addition, Choices assists in refining occupational and educational goals by allowing you to enter selection criteria based on your own wants and needs and by having the system sort through its lists of occupations and institutions and prioritize them based on your input.

For one-on-one advising concerning your major/career choice, you may visit with one of three Career Center Advisors in the RLC Career Center (EO90).

Warren Osby

Stan Katz

Kelly Speir