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Decision Making

Decision Making is putting the information you have acquired about yourself and the careers/majors you are interested in and making decisions on which one you will pursue. This page provides some guidelines for making important career decisions.


Information is power. The more information you have the easier it is to make a decision. Oftentimes an inability to choose one career path over another is an indication that you do not have sufficient information. The trick is to figure out what information you are lacking and then gather and analyze that information.


Have you...

  • Identified the pros and cons of each alternative?
  • Identified the values and needs that are satisfied by each?
  • Identified the risks involved with each alternative?
  • Projected the probable future consequences of selecting this major/career?
  • Conducted an informational interview?
  • Identified what is important to you?
  • Identified your skills?
  • Discovered what interests you the most?

Based on the information you now have, which option is the best one for you? Once you have made your decision, you must now design a Course of Action to plan how you will achieve your goal. Things you should be asking yourself....

  • What steps should I now take?
  • When should I begin and end each step?
  • What information or resources should I use?
  • What are some possible obstacles to this decision?
  • How do I overcome potential obstacles?
  • Should I reevaluate and/or change my decision?

Barriers to Decision Making

Some decisions are never easy. If you seem to hit a brick wall every time you try to make a firm career decision, it could be due to the following factors:

  • Procrastination
  • Fear/Anxiety
  • Stress/Pressure
  • Low GPA
  • Competitiveness
  • College Life
  • Lack of Information

If one of these areas seems to be your "barrier" talk with a career counselor.

7-Step Career Decision-Making Model

Use the 7-step career decision making model to work through the career decision you are trying to make:

Step One: Identify the Decision To Be Made

  • Identify what it is you are deciding
  • Identify the problem

Step Two: Know Yourself

  • Know what is important to you (values, priorities)
  • Know your skills, strengths, talents, and weaknesses
  • Think about what you are interested in and what you can get most excited about
  • Think of your longer range goals and objectives. Where you like to be in 5 years? 10 years?

Step Three: Begin Identifying Options

  • Begin identifying all the alternatives that may solve the problem or help you make the decision (this may be on-going)

Step Four: Gather Information and Data

  • Examine the information and resources you already have
  • Identify what additional information and resources you will need
  • Seek out and utilize new information

Step Five: Evaluate Options That Will Solve the Problem

  • Identify the pros and cons of each alternative
  • Identify the values and needs that are satisfied by each
  • Identify the risks involved with each alternative
  • Project the probable future consequences of selecting each

Step Six: Select One of the Options

  • Based on the information you have gathered and analyzed, choose one alternative

Step Seven: Design a Course of Action To Implement the Decision

  • Identify steps to implement the decision
  • Identify when to begin and end each step
  • Identify the information or resources needed to complete each step
  • Identify the possible obstacles to implementing the decision and how to overcome them

7-Step Decision Making Model Developed by Rick Roberts, Director, Career Services, University of North Florida