The recommended decision-making stages are (Gati & Asher, 2001) :

 

 

  • Prescreening
  • In-depth exploration
  • Choice

          And then: implementation

 

 

STAGE 1: PRESCREENING

 



Goal:

 

The world-of-work offers a great variety of educational, occupational, and employment opportunities. In order to avoid “drowning” in the vast array of possibilities, this first stage aims to reduce the number of potential career alternatives to a short list of 5 - 7 promising alternatives that are worth further exploration.

 


Steps:

 

 

  • The first step is clarifying what you are looking for. Careers may differ in a great number of attributes, such as income level, amount of traveling, work environment (indoors or outdoors), and length of training.
  • Start by making a list of 10 - 15 attributes that you find important. Then, for each attribute, indicate your specific preferences. For example, you may prefer a high level of income, no traveling, working mostly indoors, and an intermediate length of training.
  • Next, rank the attributes you listed according to their importance, beginning with the most important attribute.
  • Start with the most important attribute and compare your preferences in that attribute with the characteristics of potential career options. Eliminate any occupation that is not compatible with your preferences in this attribute.
  • Repeat the elimination process with the attribute next in importance, reducing the list of remaining career options as you move down the attribute list, in order of importance.
  • Stop the process when your list has been reduced to about 7 promising alternatives.

 


STAGE 2: IN-DEPTH EXPLORATION

 



Goal:

 


The aim here is to find out which of the promising alternatives are actually suitable and are realistic options. You will be examining both whether the alternative suits you and whether you fit its requirements. Thus, this stage involves in-depth exploration of each of the promising alternatives that remained at the end of stage 1.

 


Steps:

 


First, collect information about the promising alternatives. You may wish to talk to people who actually work in the profession, visit occupation libraries and career counseling centers, and use computerized databases that contain descriptions of occupations and training courses. Use the information you collected to answer the following questions:

 

 

  • Is this occupation also compatible with what I am looking for in the less important attributes?
  • Do I fit the occupation?
    (a) Am I ready to comply with the occupation’s requirements (e.g., working in shifts for a paramedic)?
    (b) Do my abilities and past achievements fit the occupation’s requirements / prerequisites?
    (c) What are my chances of being admitted to the required training programs?

 

Aim to remain with 2-4 alternatives at the end of this stage.

 


STAGE 3: CHOICE

 



Goal:

 


This stage aims to help you decide on the occupation that fits you best.

 


Steps:

 

 

  • Compare the remaining alternatives, two at a time. Do this by listing each alternative’s advantages and disadvantages, in terms of the preferences you wrote down in stage 1.
  • Cancel out one alternative's advantages with the other's,. Specifically, figure out which advantages of an alternative cancel out the advantages of the other alternative, taking into account the relative importance of the attributes.  (For example, one alternative's advantage in salary might be cancelled out by the other alternative's combined advantages in fringe benefits and shorter commuting time).
  • In this way, determine for each pair of alternatives which one has more advantages. Continue by pairing the "winning" alternatives with each other, until you complete the process with the final pair. 
  • Once you have located the best alternative, check your chances of being accepted to it. If you are uncertain about these chances, you should locate a second-best alternative as well.
  • If you find that your chances of being accepted to one or more of the suitable occupations or training programs are slim, you may consider improving these chances - ask yourself whether you are ready for the effort involved in this improvement.
  • Are you comfortable with your decision? If not, try to understand what bothers you.  You may have to collect additional information and go through some of the previous stages again. You may also wish to consult a professional career counselor.

 


Go back to Prescreening

 


Go back to In-depth exploration

 


NEXT: IMPLEMENTING THE DECISION

 


Goal:

 


Actualizing your decision.

 


Steps:

 

 

  • Take all the steps necessary for implementing your decision, such as obtaining registration forms or taking the SAT exam.
  • Unless you feel certain about your chances of acceptance in your most preferred occupation, you may wish to apply simultaneously to two or three jobs / academic institutions.

 


SUMMARY OF THE STAGES

 

 

  • Stage 1: Prescreening -- Clarifying your own preferences and eliminating occupations that are incompatible with them.  Constructing a list of promising alternatives.
  • Stage 2: In-depth exploration -- Collecting information about each promising alternative and examining whether it suits you and whether you fit its requirements.
  • Stage 3: Choice -- Locating the best (and second best) career option(s).
     
  • Implementation -- Planning and taking steps towards actualizing your decision.

 


For further information see Gati & Asher 2001

 


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