October 4, 2023

5 Questions to Clarify & Create your Career Path

The only person who can truly clarify and create your career path is you. You are the true expert when it comes to you. You know what you like, what your passions are, and what skills you have; however, CSU Career Services is ready, willing and able to accompany you along the way. We are driven by helping you thrive with our immense resources and honest feedback.

Here are five questions that many people think about, but due to hectic work/life/school balance, sometimes forget to ask. The keys to overall success lie in the introspection found upon pondering these questions.

  1. Why did you choose the degree you are pursuing?
  2. What do you see yourself doing with the degree upon graduation and how will you apply this knowledge?
  3. Where are your weaknesses in the field and how can you strengthen them?
  4. Who can you connect with to learn more about various career fields, real-time labor market information, and job growth in your area?
  5. When is the best time to start working with Career Services and how do you go about that?

Many students choose a field because perhaps they already work in it, or they have always wanted to use their prior experience to move into another field. Some students really don’t know what they want to do and just select a major because it seems like the best alternative. That is why, whether you are a freshman or a 2015 Alumni, a call to Career Services can begin moving you towards clarification. We can discuss WHY the degree field you chose interests you, and offer assessments and resources to determine the various tracks within that degree field. Those options tie in to fully understanding WHAT you see yourself doing upon graduation. Therefore, knowing HOW to research what jobs are out there, including realistic salary information, work/life balance prospective, and the growth potential in your area, is just as important as understanding the job duties. One of the best resources to use for career exploration, resume writing, and salary research is ONet Online. This fantastic website is an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. The database also provides career exploration tools and a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers and students looking to find or change careers.

When it comes to really knowing yourself and how you will function in the world of work, understanding WHERE your weaknesses lie and how you can strengthen them are crucial. Whatever it may be, it is a trait or skill to build upon so that by the time you graduate, or begin to interview, you can discuss the action taken to change the weakness. Some weaknesses you may not be fully aware of until you are working in a particular role. That is why it is crucial to connect with others in the field and begin familiarizing yourself with the world of work.

We’ve all heard it said before but understanding WHO you know is vital to a successful job search and connecting with professionals in the field is ultimately necessary for your success. My first suggestion is to join the Columbia Southern University Career Center on Facebook. Many of the posts focus on the nuts and bolts of resume writing, interviewing, using social media to network, job search tactics and how to properly interact and professionally connect with complete strangers with positive outcomes.

Columbia Southern University LinkedIn has an amazing collection of data that includes where they are working, their degree fields and how they have chosen to apply their knowledge. Such invaluable insight is perfect for networking, information interviews, and broadening your horizons about job possibilities.

CareerQuest, the CSU Career Services job database, includes contact information for employers that can be utilized to educate, network, and lay the foundation for future resume consideration when the time comes!

How do you contact us? Career Services is available to all students and alumni. To contact a career development counselor, e-mail or call 877-297-6192. You may also log into the myCSU Student Portal, click on the Career Services link to the left of the homepage, then click on CareerQuest to access the database. Here, you can schedule a career counseling appointment, browse the expansive job bank, and post your resume for employer viewing. Career Services is available Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST and Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CST.


One Comment

  1. Darryll Grayson

    5 Questions to Clarify & Create your Career Path

    The 3 question, “Where are your weaknesses in the field and how can you strengthen them?”, is definitely the most challenging for me. Here is why. I am Army retired with a mixed bag or skills, and like perhaps over 90% or military personnel, my career was not captured or tooled to fit the world after retirement. The evaluations were great, really great for Army standards & promotions & special consideration. After retirement, I worked for the federal government as a HR specialist and now as a policy writer/enforcer in the IT division. Neither is what I really wanted to do or enjoy, but both paid extremely well. I would have preferred to follow my degree path OSH, and probably would be much more mentally pleased and challenged than I am at present.

    So, back to Q3:, “weaknesses”, retiring at nearly 39 years old after 21 years of Army service, I had not experience in the OSH world, thus I was able to get some attention with the degree, but could not boat the big fish for lack of certifications and most importantly here, EXPERIENCE!

    CSU: I would like to propose that you find related internships for the OSH graduates who had the paper but no experience commercial employers consider creditable.