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Career Center

Decision Making Process

Find out if you are making a good career choice in four simple steps. This decision-making process was created to help you determine where to focus your professional energy. The statements you select as "false" are the areas that need the most attention. The suggested resources, and our career coaches, may help you develop in those areas.

Four Steps 

The process of deciding on a career is complex and time consuming. In order to make an informed career decision, it is helpful to work through the following four-step decision making process: 

This step involves a thorough investigation of your interests, values, abilities, needs, ambitions, lifestyle and other factors.

We use assessments, interviews and group procedures to help you gather information about yourself.

Questions to consider include: 

  • What interests and activities do I enjoy? 
  • What activities and school subjects offer me the best chance of success? 
  • What are the skill areas where I need practice? 

You'll focus on the professional arena with this step.

Information can be collected through informational interviews, job shadowing, on-site visitations, viewing of media presentations regarding careers and the research of career literature, both hard copy and web-based.

Questions to consider include: 

  • What are the majors/minors offered at USC and how can they help me reach my occupational goals? 
  • What career fields have the best potential for employment in the next five to ten years? 
  • What types of internships, job shadowing experiences and cooperative education positions will help me explore career options?

In this step, you synthesize what you've learned about yourself and what you've learned about the world of work to determine good fits.

Questions to consider include: 

  • What are three to five occupations that interest me? 
  • How do my interests, skills, values and personality fit occupations that interest me? 
  • How will I explain my career choice to others, especially if they are not supportive of my choice?

This is the step where you consider your options and develop a strategy to achieve your desired career goals. We can help you develop a career objective and resume, refine interviewing style and technique, identify key people who will serve as references, search for a job and learn how to put your “best foot forward.”

Questions to consider include: 

  • What major/minor do I need to choose to pursue occupations that interest me? 
  • What are the types of career-related work experiences – internships, part-time jobs, cooperative education experiences, summer jobs, etc. – that will best assist me in reaching my career goals?  
  • What student organizations or other co-curricular activities will assist me in reaching my career goals? 


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