When trying to choose a career or make a decision about further study you should try and address the following:

  • Know yourself
  • Know your options
  • Know how you usually make decisions
  • Know what influences and perhaps blocks your decision making

Know Yourself

You might consider your skills, interests and values, and if your decision involves more learning, think about your preferred learning style. Interests are what you enjoy doing; skills are what you do well; and values are what motivate you to work; your learning style is how you prefer to learn.

In terms of your career journey, interests tell you what direction to pursue; skills tell you how long it will take to get there; and values tell you whether or not the journey is worth taking. A critical part of learning how to make career decisions involves looking at oneself and answering some of the following questions:

  • What sort of work activities am I most interested in?
  • What skills do I have already and what do I need to develop further?
  • What other informaiton and expertise do I have to offer?

This self-knowledge helps both expand and narrow  the options that you might be considering at any given point in life. It brings the picture into clearer focus, but also makes it easier to see the  scope  of what is within your grasp.

Options Knowledge

This involves exploring your career options; see how what you know about yourself fits them, eliminating the options that don't. This helps you to draw up a short list of ideas that you want to decide on. It may involve both expanding and contracting the list of ideas over a period of time as you get more information and experience to fill the gaps in your knowledge.

Once you have clarified your self-knowledge, the next step is to identify and increase your knowledge of the options for work or learning available to you. Follow the most appropriate link below for further information:

I want to find out more about work and occupation

I want to find out more about working or studying abroad

I want to find out more about postgraduate study and courses

Knowing How You Make Decisions

You need to decide what you really want to go for from the shortlist. To make a good decision at this point and later on, you need to step back a bit and examine your own decision making style – how you typically make decisions – and the advantages and disadvantages of that. We can suggest different methods and tools, but only you can know if they will work for you.

If you know yourself, and the options open to you, the next step is to make your career decision. To do this you need to relate your self-knowledge, to the knowledge you have gained from studying all your potential options. But how?

  1. Drawing up the short list: if you have used Prospects Planner  already, you will have gone some way towards this: this system offers you a systematic way of defining your own interests, skills and motivations matching these to relevant occupations.
  2. Decision making styles: an important thing to consider is how you have made major decisions in your life so far. If you have successfully made such decisions in the past, the method you used then, may apply to your present decision making task. Alternative approaches may need to be adopted.
  3. Decision making tools: there are several systematic on-line tools available please see on line career tools.
  4. Getting more help: to access more resources or to get help in deciding which resources or methods would work best for you, call in to the careers office and speak to a Careers Adviser.