Learn about how to make career decisions and set yourself up for life

If you’re feeling a bit unsure of how to make a career decision or feeling overwhelmed by it, that’s pretty normal! You might not know where to start. Or, you might have an idea of what you want to do but you’re sure how to get there. No matter where you’re at, and it’s different for everyone, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. 

There’s a super handy process you can follow called the Career Decision Steps. Once you get some practise going through this process now, you’ll be a confident pro at it. And when you’re confident with your career decisions, it means you’ll more likely to be happier with where you end up.

So check out the Career Decision Steps. See which one suits where you’re at now and then move through to the next steps of the process. Be sure to reflect along the way to make sure what you’re doing feels right for you. Sometimes you need to zig zag to different steps. For example, you may have found that the industry you chose to work in doesn’t match your values around environmental sustainability. You will need to revisit the Making Decisions step to look at your shortlist again. Or, you may need to go back to the Explore Options step to see what other options you had come across.

This website has handy articles and activities to take you through each Career Decision Step. Explore our Career Toolkit.

When you get to your destination of choice, be sure to reflect on whether you’re happy there. If you’re not, that’s OK, sometimes things don’t work out. Or if you’re looking for a change of direction, revisit the steps and follow the process again. You can go back to whichever step you want.

Career Decision Steps

1. Discovering Interests & Skills

The first step is all about you! It’s about working out what your interests and skills are, and the things you’re really passionate about.

Knowing this can provide clues on what to look for in a job or course you’re more likely to enjoy. If you’re not too sure (and that’s pretty common) now is the perfect time to have some fun exploring. So try lots of different things to discover:

  • your interests
  • your skills, abilities and talents
  • your values
  • your preferences for occupations and the lifestyle you want to lead that’s authentic to you.

Read up on articles and activities to help you discover your interests and skills.

2. Explore Options

The second step is about broadly exploring your options. It’s a chance to think outside the square and to cast the net far and wide when gathering information. Keep trying new and different experiences to help narrow down your options. Explore:

  • different occupations
  • apprenticeships and traineeships
  • education and training courses and institutions
  • future employment prospects and where the jobs are

Read up on articles and activities to help you explore your options.

3. Make Decisions

The third step is about shortlisting your favourite options. Then you deep dive into each option to see how they measure up. Match them against your interests, skills and values. This will help you to make an informed decision.

Read up on articles and activities to help you make decisions.

4. How To’s

The fourth step is when things start to get real (and it’s pretty exciting!). It’s the time to set goals and take steps to bring your decisions to life. It’s also good to have a flexible mindset at this time (A plan B in other words). This is just in case things turn out differently from how you expect.

Read up on articles and activities to help you put your decisions into action, read up on the how to’s.

Key takeaway

Follow the Career Decision Steps. They’ll help you feel confident with making career decisions, now and later in life. Always take time to reflect on where you’re at and revisit the relevant steps if you need to.

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