A Step-by-Step Career Planning Method

Self Assessment: Take an inventory

Take time to examine your interests, abilities, values and personality characteristics. The Columbia State Career Development webpage offers online access to the following: 

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality preferences including the Four Scales and 16 Personality Types link.
  • John Holland’s theory of career development with 6 different personality types which suggests that people seek work environments that fit their personality link.

Track Down Information

  • Get career ideas from your career assessment results.
  • Use resources to help you identify the careers associated with a major. Check out the videos at  Candid Career.
  • Check out the information available at What Can I Do With This Major?
  • Explore web sites that describe career specific information. US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) link: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
  • Gather factual data from web sites and printed material. Jobs for Tennessee (select Job Seekers, Career Assistance and then Career Tips or Career Informer.)
  • Talk to professionals in the field you are exploring to gain perspective, professional opinion and advice. This process of seeking professional opinion can include instructors/program directors who teach in your field of interest, business industry leaders, national trade and professional association organizations or participating in networking events based on field of interestGet practical experience through volunteer, part-time or summer jobs.  

Analyze and Evaluate Information

  • Narrow your options down to your top 3-5 choices.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of each choice.
  • Think long term and look for multiple paths to the same career.

Reach a Decision

  • Make a decision and choose backup options.
    • Declare a program of study and complete a CHANGE OF MAJOR form to be submitted to Enrollment Services/Processing Office link: Records Office (page scroll down to Forms, select Change of Major – Degree or Change of Major – Certificate)
    • Columbia State Community College offers over 80 programs of study. The Program Fliers provide students with program and career descriptions, labor market information, transfer options (if applicable), program requirements, sample schedules and program/division contact information. To view a full list of programs link: Catalog and Student Handbook (select Program Fliers, then select program to view details)

Take Action

  • Develop your action plan and implement short term goals


Michelle Koenig
Dean of Access, Retention & Regional Services
Columbia Campus, Jones Student Center 150