career development center    
hope college > career development center    

For Students <
For Employers <
For Alumni <
For Parents <
For Faculty <
About Us/
A-Z Search <

A Career Planning Overview

Career planning is a long-term process requiring active participation. Keep in mind that while OCS staff will work with you, you are responsible for working toward your goals. The career planning process can be summarized by a six step process:

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Self-assessment
  3. Career research
  4. Examining options and alternatives
  5. Establishing an implementation plan
  6. Reflecting and re-evaluation

Here is a closer look at each of the six steps.

Goal Setting: goal setting requires you to identify and clarify career concerns.

  • We can work together to determine what issues need to be considered and explored
  • Includes a process of identifying alternative solutions and prioritizing your goals

Self-assessment: the key to realizing who you are and what you should do with that realization.
  • Key areas of assessment:
    • personality
    • interests
    • strengths
    • skills
    • work and personal values
  • We will help you to figure out the role your own unique gifts and talents will play in your career-related choices.

Career research: before you can make a well-educated decision, you need to do your homework.

  • Key questions to answer through career research
    • Do you know what the careers you are interested in are really like?
    • Do you know what the job is like on a day-to-day basis?
    • What is the average salary?
    • What level and type of education is required?
    • Do you need special skills or certification?
    • What kind of experience do you need?
    • Will you really, honestly, like this kind of job?
    • Does it fit with your self-assessments that you have already performed?
  • Three key ways to answer these questions - to get the most information, you should do all three

Examining options and alternatives: determine your viable options and discern which of those options seems to be the best fit for you.

  • Analyze your choices by weighing the the positives and negatives of each
  • Recognize that there will likely not be one best career fit, rather you might find several options that will seem equally viable
Establishing an implementation plan: set new goals and develop a course of action.
  • Schedule an appointment with Dale Austin, director of Career Services, to talk about job search and/or graduate school planning issues.
Reflecting and re-evaluating: every decision should be evaluated, but this is especially true for career decisions.
  • Take time to reflect on what you have accomplished to date and where you are going in the future
  • Expect to work through this six step process continually as you, and your career, develop