College Career Life Planning

Career Planning

Tools for



Make An Informed Choice!

Career discussions with adults tend to be infrequent when you are a child.  Then, around age 17, adults begin peppering you with questions about your plans for college, a major and a if it magically comes to you.  Rather than admit, "I don't have a clue", many young people simply pick a career they have seen on TV or that a friend has suggested. After they repeat this response several times, they begin to convince themselves. 

In some cases, students invest 2-3 years in college pursuing a major for this "randomly selected" careeronly to decide that they hate their choice.  Some students switch majors at significant additional cost (time and $$$).  Unless these students use effective career planning tools, they are likely to be just as unhappy with their second choice.  Some students decide not to change majors, but instead "tough it out" only to be miserable in their job for the next 40 years.  

There is a better approach.  The information in this section will help you significantly improve your odds of selecting a great (maybe even a perfect) career for you!    

Too Young to Decide on a Career?  (Audio)   

Already Picked a Career? (Audio) 


Suggestions Before You Start 

      Don't select a career based solely on $$$.

      Do pick a career for which jobs are available with income levels adequate to meet your family's financial needs.

      Don't expect a quick, easy answer.  The career planning process requires time and effort.  Invest the time to identify/evaluate careers that "fit" your needs, interests and abilities.

      Do use a variety of tools and talk to several people in each career of interest.

      Don't get discouraged or discredit the process when some clearly unacceptable careers appear on the list generated by an interest assessment tool (they will).  Career planning is not a precise science.  Some reason and judgment must be applied.

      Do think about the process as a way to significantly improve your odds (with no guarantee) of selecting a great career. 

The following table is my rough estimate of how your odds for choosing a great or "perfect" career improve by making an informed decision.

  Random Decision Gut Feel Informed Decision
Perfect Career
Great Career
Acceptable Career
Terrible Career

For example, I estimate that your probability of selecting a "perfect career" is about 1% if you make a random decision vs. 30% if you make an informed decision.

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