Career Planning



Career Planning is learning about yourself and the job market – and ten making choices based on what you have learned. It can help you decide what type of job you want, determine the skills you need, and discover ways to get those skills. Career planning gives you a better chance to get what you want from life. Careful planning can help you focus on the career path that is right for you. These skills can be used throughout your life.
Get a head start by starting the career planning process today!


STEP 3: Set Goals and Make A Decision!

STEP 1: Self-Assessment

Take some time alone and ask yourself and answer these following questions:


What do you value?

What is important to you? Think in broad terms at first. What do you value in your personal life? Your academic/professional life? Spiritual life?


What are your interests?

What are the things are you passionate about in life? What do you enjoy doing? If you could have any job you wanted what would that be? What would that look like? What areas are you interested in exploring?


What are your skills?


What are you good at? Where are your skills, abilities, and talents? What tools are you interested in exploring? Think about skills you may have gained through: past jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, school, social activities, etc.


What is your desired lifestyle?


What kind of lifestyle do you want to have? Where do you want to live? How do you want to live? What kind of house and car would you like to own? What size family do you envision having? How will you support this kind of lifestyle?


What is God’s Will for you life?

Is God a factor in your decision? How are you involving him in this process? What choices can you make to ensure that you are following God’s will? What talents has he specifically given you?

Self Assessment Action Steps:

  1. Take personality and/or career tests at Counseling and Testing Center in Bell Hall
  2. Use the CTC Career Development Guide that is available from the CTC and your academic advisor.
  3. Check out a career book or two either at the CTC Career Development Library or the JW library. Both places have a wide variety of career-related books and resources to help you in your self-assessment and career development.
  4. Use AU Careers Web site
  5. Write out your own personal evaluation. List your values, preferred work environment, skills, interests, strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Set Goals. Make a checklist and prioritize tasks.

STEP 2: Explore Potential Careers

Now that you have obtained information about yourself, you can now begin exploring major options and potential career options. This is not the time to make a decision. It’s time to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!

Use the Career Path Guide


Use the self directed informational sheet, AU Career Path to guide you step by step through each year of college.




Use people as a resource



Obtain and review information with career counselors at the Counseling and Testing Center (CTC). Talk to professors, co-workers, friends, neighbors, relatives, and even previous employers. They may be able to tell you about different job opportunities, skills needs to perform the job, or simply provide additional resources.



Use various online resources

Check out AU Online Career Resource List and "What Can I do with a Major In?" for the most useful online resources. You can also check out the CTC Career Development Library located in the Counseling and Testing Center, Bell Hall Suite 123.


Job Shadow,

Volunteer, and set up

Informational Interviews





A couple of ways to get important information and get familiar with a particular type of major/work that you are considering is to do some shadowing to get a first hand experience.

Volunteer work in the particular area and or position you are interested in will allow you to not only network but to get a in depth look @ the job of choice.

Informational Interviews are extremely helpful in a number of things. Practicing your skills, creating a career network, discovering employment opportunities, and gaining insight as to what individuals who are currently in the field of interest like, dislike, recommend, say related to the corporate culture, and describe nature of job to be. The following steps will help you set up/conduct and informational interview:

  • Identify the major/occupation/company/industry you would like to learn more about.
  • Identify contacts: talk to friends, family, neighbors, and faculty. Use AU & ME to locate and identify alumni who are willing to Speak to you.
  • Arrange the interview through email, phone, personal contact, letter, or through someone who knows the person.
  • Prepare for the interview: research the chosen major/occupation/company and develop questions about "What do I need to know to help me to better understand if this field is for me?"
  • Interview: Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and be professional. The interview can be held over the phone but do not forget to get their contact information and ask if they may know of anyone else who may be helpful in your research.
  • Follow Up: Immediately following the interview take some time to put together a thank you note expressing your positive thoughts regarding the interview.


Don’t Limit Yourself



You may not have an idea of what specific job title/position you are looking for and that is OKAY! Remember to think in terms of your SKILLS. "I can communicate ideas well!" or "I work best under pressure", etc. You will find these skills more useful and transferable in more that one job title.


Build a Network of Career Contacts


As you go through the steps of major/career explorations develop relationships and connections with individuals in these particular fields and keep in contact realizing that one day can work for your benefit as you plan your career.


STEP 3: Decisions, Decisions!

It’s time to gather all the research you’ve collected and take steps to make your decision.

1. Analyze your goal. What do you want to come out of this decision? Knowing this can help you better define your goal.

2. Analyze & Identify roadblocks and obstacles that may be keeping you for obtaining your goal.

3. Generate possible solutions. Brainstorm and be creative as you look at your options and the possibilities of your options.

4. Explore each solution. Create a "what if" plan for each solution you’re considering. Consider all the potential consequences both positive and negative of each solution.

5. Implement ONE of your solutions.

6. Evaluate. Take time to reflect on your action steps and evaluate both successes and failures. If necessary begin steps 1-6 again until you develop a solution that you are satisfied with and will ultimately bring you to MAKE A DECISION!