Career Planning Process

1. Self-Exploration

The first step in making an informed academic or vocational choice is understanding yourself: your needs, strengths, joys, personality, values, skills, natural talents, preferences and interests. There are many ways to do this on your own or working with a career counselor. Depending on your preference, you and your career counselor may use values clarification exercises, skill identification exercises, interest inventories, communication and learning styles, and other creative means to enhance your self-understanding. Knowing and talking about these things that make you unique can help you begin to develop the criteria you may want to use in making decisions about which majors to explore and/or what kinds of experience you might like to get while you are at Sacramento State or beginning your job search.

If you like working on your own, or want to get a head start on this process before you see a career counselor, you can use EUREKA or Choices on the computer in the Career Center. The next step in making an informed decision is to research the world of work.

2. Research Academic / Career Options

Making a decision about the kind of major and/or work you would enjoy involves learning something about what is out there in the world of work. You can begin to explore your options in the Career Center's Career Information Library. There are many books and videos in the Career Center to help you identify great jobs for different majors, interests, personalities and professions. There are directories, trade publications, company information binders and videos to help you contact people and visualize potential occupations and opportunities for experience. The Career Center provides Internet access and web site locations for exploration. You can talk directly with employers at a variety of career events. In addition to the Career Information Library, students can attend company information meetings held during the semester.

3. Explore the World of Work

Once you have researched possible academic majors and occupational fields based on the knowledge acquired through self-exploration and research, the next step involves getting some experience and having an opportunity to check out your interests first hand. There are lots of ways to do this both on and off campus. Resources you can access on campus include academic major clubs and organizations, department internship programs, the Cooperative Education program, career and job fairs sponsored by student organizations and the Career Center. The Career Center also provides opportunities through part-time work, internships, community service and volunteer positions. These can be accessed in person at the Career Center and on-line. Off-campus resources include informational interviewing, job-shadowing, networking, part-time and volunteer opportunities. The more experience you get, and the wider the variety of experience, the more informed your decision will be.

4. Job Search / Academic Preparation

The fourth step in career development and planning is where your self-exploration, research, and experience come together in the form of a planned job search campaign. At this point you will have some ideas about the kind of work environment you would like, the skills and talents you prefer to use and develop, and ways you can pursue your interests. Whether your plan entails additional education or an immediate job search, the Career Center can help in your preparation through workshops, a videotaped practice interview, participation in On-campus Recruitment or exploring graduate school options and writing personal statements for professional schools.

5. Goal Setting / Action Plans

Developing an educational and/or career plan is an exciting process. Goals and action-steps provide the means and the direction to accomplish your educational/career plans. Throughout the career planning process you will have many opportunities to work on action-steps and set goals for yourself. Career Center staff are available to help you clarify your educational and career plans as well as establish the goals and action-steps necessary to actualize your dreams. There are different types of decision-making strategies. An integral part of making decisions is having accurate and up-to-date information. Whether you are using the Career Center's Career Information Library or talking with a professional in your field of interest, gathering information will help you establish realistic goals and action-steps. Whether you need help making decisions, establishing goals and action-steps, or gather accurate and up-to-date information, Career Center staff are available to assist you.

Visit the Career Center today to start working on your Career Plan!