Career planning is an exploratory process. It is identifying what you’re good at; how your skills, talents, values and interests translate into work; and where to find that work. Career planning is life building, encouraging people to become healthy, self-reliant citizens able to cope with constant change in rapidly changing labor markets as well as maintain balance between work and life roles. Participating and becoming actively engaged in the campus community as a college student provides you with the tools and resources necessary to navigate the campus. Much research has been centered around the importance of student engagement and the impact not only while in college, but in life.
The Career Center has created the Career Planning Process, a three-step model (outlined below) to explore who you are and to provide you with a structure to become more engaged on campus. These steps include Research, Network, and Experience. There are resources in the Career Center and throughout the campus within the model. We encourage students to first come into the Career Center for support in this process. Moving from one step to the next will assist you with making informed decisions about your major and/or career. It is with these steps you will gain considerable knowledge about the career path of your choice and ultimately be more satisfied because life in college matters for life after college. And in the end, you will know that the major/career decision you make is truly an informed one.
Please visit us during our operating hours to receive assistance in the career planning process. We offer career research assistance to help guide students through the myriad of career resources. Once students have explored the steps below, please be certain to meet with a Counselor to organize your findings, clarify your options, and evaluate the information in order to make a major and/or career selection. They will also help you complete a Student Education Program Plan to continue your journey in your educational and career pathways.
Begin your self-exploration by scrolling down to view our Career Planning Process:
Step 1: Research
The start of this process calls for learning about yourself, and self-assessment is a good way to do this. Identifying your interests, skills, and work values are important when exploring pathways related to educational and career options. Self-assessment is essentially a personal inventory, much like an inventory a business might take. You identify what you’ve got, what you need, what works and what doesn’t. Once you have identified these areas about yourself and/or obtained results from self-assessments, you can begin to explore career/occupational information and educational programs. Also, check out our Resources.
- Self-Assessments for Fullerton College students
- Career Information Databases
- Career Exploration and Planning Courses
- Fullerton College Degree and Certificate programs
- Career Education (formally known as Career Technical Education)
- Fullerton College Major Guide Sheets and G.E. Guide Sheets
- Explore CSU and UC Majors (Assist.org)
- Salary Surfer
- Transfer Information
Video: Career Exploration 101
Step 2: Network
Investigating the world of work more subjectively is necessary in the process. This is a step where you must talk to as many people as you can to learn more about the careers that are of interest to you. Some important people with whom to speak are career professionals. It may seem a bit intimidating at first, but with the right tools you can begin to Network Like a Pro! Performing “informational interviews” can be the start of networking in order to gather information that is more subjective to bring you even closer to your decision. Start by talking to your professors. As a strategy, consider joining several clubs or associations such as Fullerton College’s student clubs and possibly local, state, or national professional associations. Did you know that most professional associations offer student memberships? Getting connected and staying connected is key!
Step 3: Experience
If you have a college major or career in mind, get as much relevant/related experience as you can. Think about this step as you would if you were buying a car and test driving it. It would be a considerable risk if you purchased a car without experiencing the ride for yourself. Therefore, this step is your opportunity to place yourself in the work environment(s) in order to see, feel, and know if this is a good fit. In this step, you are gaining experiential knowledge. Do you like the work tasks and activities? Are you behind a desk or outdoors most of the time? Are you around people with similar interests and work values? Questions you have about the career may clearly be answered, letting you know whether or not you are on the best path. (Here are some tips from LinkedIn on Conducting Essential Employer Research to help you.)
Video: How to turn your internship into a job offer