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Career Exploration and Planning

The Career Development and Experiential Learning Center (CDELC) offers a variety of career-related assessments and counseling services to help you discover your vocational calling and a sense of satisfaction with your life, studies, and work. Career development is a process of major/career exploration and planning. Have fun and enjoy your career exploration process!

Step 1: Self-Exploration

Take the career assessments to learn about your career interests, personality style, values, skills, strengths, and emotional intelligence. The career assessment results can help you create a career profile to help you explore and choose a college major and a career. Some of these assessments can be self-administered, and a career counselor must administer others; email to schedule your free online assessment.

  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) – uncover your career interests and potential matching occupations. The results serve as a blueprint to begin your career exploration.
  • My Next Move (by O*NET) – find your career interests and potential matching careers. Research career specifics; education/training, skills, salary, and job outlook.
  • Work Values Matcher (CareerOneStop) – discover what is most important to you and how your values influence and motivate your career goals.
  • Skills Matcher (CareerOneStop) – learn what careers match your skills, how you interact with others, solve problems, and manage your work.
  • Clifton Strengths – discover what you naturally do best and how to develop your talents into strengths. Knowing your abilities can help you gain confidence and succeed professionally.
  • Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-I 2.0) – discover how your emotional and social skills influence your decisions and how you interact with others. Leverage your emotional intelligence to achieve effective communication, collaboration, leadership, and interpersonal relationships.

Step 2: Major & Career Exploration

Use the information gathered in step1: Self-Exploration, to search online and have career conversations with professionals to learn about the education/training, skills, competencies, experience, salary, job outlook, and intricacies of the job.

Explore FPU Majors

Fresno Pacific University offers more than 100 areas of study to undergraduate, adult degree completion, graduate, and seminary students. Here are some things to consider during your FPU major exploration.

  • Read about the college major and use a ranking system of interest to narrow down your options. What do you enjoy learning, and what do you want to learn? How will the course fulfill your interests and motivation to learn? Have an open mind about your potential, explore and don’t be afraid to change your major, add a second major or add a minor.
  • Meet with professors to review the course content, syllabus, assignments, projects, and textbooks.

Connect College Major to Careers

Explore the possible career paths you can take with your college major and where you can articulate your knowledge. Use these online resources for your career search:

Professional Networking

Explore majors and careers through career conversations with professionals. Networking with individuals can help you gather specific information about a job, clarify your career goals, narrow your options, and build lasting professional relationships.

  • FPU Network – the Fresno Pacific University Network is a group of FPU alumni and friends who have agreed to be available to FPU students to share their college and career experiences. To access the FPU Network, email
  • LinkedIn – connect with professionals who are industry experts to receive career guidance and be part of their network. Join the FPU Alumni Association Group and mentorship-based groups. Create your LinkedIn profile.
  • Networking Events – attend in-person or virtual industry-specific networking events to meet like-minded individuals and build professional connections. Meet professionals in career/job fairs, community organizations events, career industry conferences/training, and chamber of commerce mixers.
  • Informational Interviews – gather information about a specific occupation or industry by talking with people working in the field.
  • Job Shadowing – gather information about the intricacies of the job by “shadowing” a professional at their workplace.
    • Job Shadowing Guide – use this guide to successfully connect with professionals to shadow them at their workplace.

Step 3: Decision Making

You have spent time gathering information about yourself, college majors, and the world of work. In this step, you’ll put together everything you have learned about yourself, career interests, personality style, values, skills, strengths, and emotional intelligence. Reflect on what you have learned, what you want to learn, and why you want to know about a specific major. Have you narrowed down your major or career options? Are you ready to choose a major or career? or do you need to continue exploring and researching? Remember that career development is a process; you have many options. Use these resources to help you define your ideal job and steps to change or add a major or minor to your education plan.

  • Define your Ideal Job – use this worksheet to reflect on your career values which can help you make your vision a reality.
  • Need to change/add a major or a minor? – contact your FPU academic advisor/mentor for guidance to successfully change/add a major or minor.

Myths About Majors and Careers – one of the most important decisions to make in college is declaring a major. A significant part of graduating on time is declaring a major early in your education. Read these myths about selecting a college major and a career.

“The best way to learn about a major is to take a class in it.”

Taking a class to learn about a major is not necessarily the best way. If you take a course, you know about that major, and if you decide against it, you can eliminate that major option. However, you will not get a refund, and your graduating year is extended. Instead, learn about the college major by researching, reviewing class textbooks, requesting to sit in and audit the class, talking to professors about the course, and connecting with the Career Services Center.

“Selecting a major and career are the same thing.”

A college major is a course of study, and classes are about the field of study. A major is essential because it is an academic requirement to graduate. A career is an occupational industry you want to work in. Although some jobs require a specific major, your area of study/major would give you the knowledge and skills to enter various careers.

“The major I choose now will determine my lifelong career.”

The college major you choose will not determine your lifelong career. Studies show that most college graduates work in occupations unrelated to their degrees within ten years. A major does not define what job you will go into, but your major will help you get the career of your choice by gaining domain-specific knowledge and skills needed in your career choice.

“Choosing one major means giving up the others or missing out.”

This misconception puts students under pressure when deciding on a major. Students feel they’ll miss out on gaining knowledge, that they cannot change majors or that they can only stay in one career forever. Career exploration is essential, as students will discover their career interests, preferences, work values, strengths, and skills. Students may consider the possibility of adding a second major or minor.

Step 4: Career Action Plan

Create a career action plan focusing on your development as a student, leader, and future employee. A career action plan consists of short and long-term goals to help you track and re-evaluate the steps to achieve your goals. Your career plan will serve as a road map that will take you through different points in your career, from completing a college major to gaining experience to preparing for the job market and successfully landing a job. Use these resources to help you develop your career action plan.

  • Four-Year Career Plan – use this four-year career plan to plan critical activities during your studies at FPU. If your college timeline differs, adjust the years to what best fits your studies and projects.
  • Career Readiness Competencies – the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has published eight career competencies that students should develop to land and succeed in a job. Your career plan includes how and what actions you will take to develop these career competencies in the workplace.
  • Experiential Learning – enhance your learning through experiential learning opportunities; community service/volunteerism, service-learning projects, on-campus jobs, job shadowing, internships/practicum, and student teaching. These opportunities allow you to apply your knowledge and theory with firsthand experience and real-world situations and develop career competencies.
    • Handshake – activate your job platform account to search for; on-campus employment, part-time/full-time jobs, internships, and graduate assistantships.

“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” - Proverbs 3.6