The Ohio State University at Marion


Career Services


Career Development Process


There is a step-by-step process that you can follow in selecting a college major. This process helps to ensure that you get the most out of your college education and it also greatly facilitates the post graduation transition. This process places you in the driver’s seat providing you with a clearer vision of where you want to head and your plan for getting there.

I. Identify the Decisions to Be Made:

This is done by stating the challenge or problem you’re faced with. You may consider your challenge to be choice of a college major, but looking at a broader perspective will help you clarify your options. Consider and try to answer the following questions and then identify the decision(s) to be made at this time.

  • What are my dreams for my life (including my career) upon graduation ?
  • What would a future ideal work scenario consist of for me ?
  • Why am I attending college? (There can be more than one answer to this question).
    • To prepare for a specific occupation or for general career advancement ?
    • To find myself ?
    • For the social opportunities ?
    • To gain a solid foundation for future graduate study ?
    • Due to expectations/ pressures from family and /or significant others in my life ?
    • Because my friends are ?
    • Other ____________________________?
  • Where do I want to head in my life /career and what classes and experiences can I pursue to help me explore and move in that proposed direction ?
  • What do I want my life’s work to be known for? What contributions can I offer through my work ? What elements would need to exist for my work to be satisfying and meaningful ?
  • What conditions affect my decision situation ?
  • Internal Conditions (attitudes, feelings, beliefs, biases, etc.).
  • External Conditions (finances, time, obligations, disabilities, opportunities, etc.).
  • Which of these conditions are reality based and which are based on assumptions ?

II. Gather Information About Yourself:

Self-assessment consists of examining your strengths, interests, values, enjoyable skills, and key personality traits. Engaging in the self-assessment process offers you direction in terms of determining future career plans and ultimately in selecting a college major to support your plans. Your interests, values and key personality traits help you determine work settings and industries of greatest interest to you. The skills you enjoy using most can help you determine preferred day to day work activities within a given work setting. Some questions you may want to consider when beginning the self-assessment process are:

Interests
- What activities absorb my attention?
- What situations energize me?
- What words would I use to describe myself?
- How would others describe me?
- What do I dream of doing, but never seem to get to?
- What subject areas am I most passionate about?

Skills
- What activities am I best at?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What skills do I want to use in a job?
- What skills do I need to develop?

Values
- What personal rewards do I seek in a career?
- In what ways must I be challenged on the job?
- What activities bring me greatest satisfaction?
- In what type of work environment would I be happy?

Personality Traits
- What personal qualities will help me be successful at work?
- Am I able to get along with supervisors? Co-workers? The public?
- Does my personality enhance my work with people, data or things?

At Career Services, a variety of self assessment activity options including interest inventories and card sort exercises to name a few are available. For information on self-assessment, or to get started with some online self-assessment activities, of if you have an interest in going through the self-assessment process, contact call 740-725-6344 to schedule an appointment.

III. Brainstorming Options of Interest

Upon completion of the self-assessment process, you will have the tools to help you brainstorm potential industries and occupations of interest based on your personality profile. At this point, your focus shifts from internal to external information gathering so that you can learn more about options in line with your self-assessment results. Your goal is not to prematurely select only one occupation to pursue, but rather to look for patterns in your work interests. Given your unique personality characteristics, you will notice a pattern in terms of the “cluster” of work and educational options that interest you most. For example, you might find that you’re drawn towards social service, physical science or administrative work options.

With a career counselor to guide you, you will learn about what kind of information to gather and how to obtain it. For more information on a variety of occupations and the world of work, visit: http://www.bls.gov/oco. To explore career planning options for each of the undergraduate majors offered at OSU, refer to the OSU majors page at: http://undergrad.osu.edu/majors.html Once again, schedule an appointment with a career counselor for more thorough assistance.

To help you in making a choice regarding an academic major, you will want to learn about educational and experiential entrance requirements for occupation(s) of interest. Through this exploration process, you will determine whether a specific major is required for each of your top interest options or whether there is greater flexibility in the choice of a major.

IV. Evaluate an option:

At this point in the process you would make a list of the different major options that are of interest to you. Next, consider the following questions in relation to your options:

  • Do I enjoy or do I think I will enjoy the subject matter in this discipline?
  • Do I think I can perform well in this discipline?
  • If I have interest in more than one major can I take classes in more than one discipline and leave my options open?
  • How do I relate to other students and faculty in this discipline?
  • How does this major relate to my self-assessment results?
  • How does this major relate to occupations and industries of interest?
  • Is an internship required or offered in this program? If not, what hands-on experiences can I pursue to give me the Specific Knowledge Skills needed for post graduation employment? (These could include service learning, volunteer experiences and/or part-time employment or a self-obtained internship).
  • Will this major serve as a stepping stone to graduate study that interests me?
  • What do I “think” about each major option? How do I “feel” about each major option?
  • Are there any other pros or cons related to each option?

V. Decide on an option

In some instances, the choice of major will become clear especially when you have a career interest requiring a specific college degree. In other instances you might decide to go the non-declared route while you continue to explore available alternatives. You might realize that a double major or a specific major/minor combination would be the answer. If you find yourself continuing to struggle even after considering the questions in step IV, ask yourself, "What is keeping me from pursuing my top option right now?" Seek support from faculty, academic advisors and from Career Services. Finally, it’s time to choose and take responsibility for a choice.

VI. Design a Course of Action to Implement the Decision:

  • What goals and objectives do I want to create for the direction I have chosen?
  • What courses will I take?
  • What topics will I research?
  • What Functional, Specific Knowledge, and Personal Trait Skills do I need to develop?
  • What experiential activities will I pursue?

VII. Implement the Decision:

  • How will I carry out my career plans?
  • What specific steps will I take and when will I take them?
  • Who or what resources can I call upon to support me in my efforts?
  • How will I hold myself accountable and how will I reward myself for following through on my plans?

VIII. Evaluate the Decision on the Basis of the Outcome

  • How well is my decision working?
  • What can I do to make it better?
  • What new decisions am I now in a position to make?
  • What fits and what doesn't’t fit at this point?
  • Review prior self-assessment activities for clues if something doesn't’t seem to be working for you.

Conclusion:

The main point to remember here is that you don’t have to jump from one choice of academic major to another without rhyme or reason. There is a process available to guide you and there are staff and faculty available to support you in selecting a college major along the way. Above all, it’s important for you to be informed about your options, to reality test those options and to take the time to prepare for your top options. The following quote sums it all up. It reflects the message that employers love to hear from any job candidate; that is, that you have done your homework, you are informed, and you are prepared to enter their industry and organization.

I’m a recent college graduate, and I am prepared for a career in this field. I‘m intelligent, mature, eager and have a positive attitude. I’ve researched this industry and your company, and I know what to expect in an entry level position".

Gregory Giangrande
The Liberal Arts Advantage