I regularly meet with students who are overwhelmed with the prospect of making career choices and decisions. These include students in their first year right up to and including recent grads. A good proportion of students don’t have a career focus early on in their academic experience and become increasingly motivated as they near graduation, when the reality of finding employment sets in.
Why the indecision?
There are a number of reasons that could contribute to career decision-making difficulties, including:
- Not knowing how to make a career decision
- Limited information about oneself (eg. capabilities, interests, personal qualities)
- Lack of information about occupations and how to obtain career information
- Inconsistent information due to internal or external factors (eg. difficulties related to the developing personal identity of the student, insecurity about one’s ability to achieve a career goal, limited career exposure, or expectations / opinions of significant others)
Making Career Decisions
Below are some questions to ponder if you’re having difficulty making a career decision:
- How do you prefer to make decisions? Has this approach been beneficial for you in the past?
- How well do you understand yourself (likes, dislikes, strengths, values, personality)?
- How does your self-knowledge suit different occupations? What else do you need to know?
- Do you have sufficient (reliable) information to make and evaluate your career choices (Eg. career information, required training, contacts in the field)? What else do you need to know?
- What’s your timeline for making a decision?
- What’s in the way of making a decision?
Identify the road blocks in an effort to help you move towards a solution. Whatever the reason, don’t ignore the challenge or put off taking action. You do not need to agonize through your career decision making woes. There is plenty of support available on-campus to assist you with each step of the way.
How the UTM Career Centre can help:
- Career exposure opportunities connecting students to working professionals in various fields and organizations. Read up on “In the Field” and “Extern” programs in the Career Learning Network at utoronto.ca (check Programs as well as the Mississauga Events Calendar for upcoming sessions).
- web-based resources on occupations and career decision making (check CLN, under “resources”)
- workshops on topics including career exploration and decision making, job search, interview skills, professional/graduate school planning and much more. Also, networking events and career nights with industry speakers who share insights about their own career path and tips for students. (check the CLN – Mississauga Events Calendar, for upcoming sessions)
- a variety of assessment tools (to identify your skills, interests, values, personality traits)
- individual appointments with staff to discuss your career or job search questions and concerns
Visit the UTM Career Centre for support. We’re committed to your success.
Daniela Cristini, Career Counsellor
Morgan Tracy, Ness David. Career Decision Making Difficulties of First Year Students. Retrieved from http://cjcdonline.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Career-Decision-Making-Difficulties-of.pdf.
(The Canadian Journal of Career Development).