Developing a Career Plan

How do I pick a major and occupation that is right for me? 

Choosing which majors and occupations to pursue are huge life decisions. We understand how important these decisions are, which is why our services are dedicated to helping students in all stages of the career decision-making process. Our 4-Step Career Plan is geared toward determining which majors and occupations are the best fit for students, based on their personal background and preferences.

What is the 4-Step Career Plan?

The following is a brief overview of what our 4-Step Career Plan entails. Our services are designed to tailor this plan to your career planning needs and assist you in developing a personalized career plan. In our Career Coaching program, Individual Career Counseling, or the Personal Career Development Course, we will guide you through in-depth self and career exploration, and provide tools for implementing your career plan.

Step 1: Explore Yourself 

Interests – What do you like? What are you passionate about? You can begin exploring your interests here

Skills – What are you good at? What are you confident in? You can begin exploring your skills here

Values – What is most important to you in life? You can begin exploring your values here

Personality – What is your personal style? What are your personality strengths and preferences? You can begin exploring your personality here or here

Culture & Relationships – How do your background and past experiences impact your opinions about careers? Learn more about how diversity might impact career development here

Step 2: Explore Occupations

Generate a list of occupations that fit your interests, skills, values, etc.

Use career exploration tools to learn more about potential occupations.

Choose which occupations to eliminate and which to continue exploring.

O*Net Online is a database which can be used to explore occupations - it includes almost 1000 occupations and has detailed information about each.

Decide which occupations fit you best. Career coaching or career counseling can help you understand how to use the information you have gathered about occupations.

Step 3: Explore Majors

Depending on your situation, you may pick the major that corresponds with your chosen occupation, or generate a list of majors that fit your interests, skills, etc. Explore all the majors and programs offered at Iowa State here

Use major exploration tools to learn more about potential majors. This might include talking to advisors, career services, making a four year plan, or using degree audits.

Attend the ISU Major Fair.

Decide which majors fit you best. Career coaching or career counseling can help you understand how to use the information you have gathered about majors.

Step 4: Determine & Implement Your Personal Career Plan

Decide which occupation will ultimately be the best fit, and choose which major will help you get there. Career coaching or career counseling can help you understand how information about yourself and the world of work fits together.

Create a plan for what you want to accomplish in order to best prepare you for your chosen occupation (coursework, part-time jobs, volunteer work, student organizations, internships, etc.).

Begin implementing your plan. You can always come back to Career Exploration Services to further explore or revise it later.