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Career Development Center University of Illinois Springfield

What Is Goals?

The GOALS program was designed to promote career development as a lifelong process and to support students and alumni in overcoming career barriers through informed decision making. The virtual web tool encompasses a unique approach to career planning, using multiple learning styles. Resources are available for each learning style: Hands On (also referred to as Kinesthetic), Auditory and Visual. Each style is designated with the following icons throughout the GOALS program:

Kinesthetic Icon Auditory icon Visual icon

Want to know your learning style? Take a learning style assessment.

The GOALS program can also be used as a self-directed approach by students and alumni. However, if an individual chooses, he/she also has the option of working with Career Specialists and Career Counselors as an interactive approach to career planning. The comprehensive GOALS program can be utilized by all individuals, regardless of their present career development stage. The GOALS program provides easily navigated tools with uniquely guided color schemes to keep you on track at any stage of the career planning process.

How Do I Begin the GOALS Program?

Individuals who are beginning the typical career planning process should follow the GOALS program in the given order. The program is also designed to meet unique situations. For example, some individuals may find the need to skip stages, enter stages at different levels, return to various stages, and/or start the process over. Examples of each component of the GOALS program are provided in the description within each corresponding letter. Typical entrance areas into the program may be as follows:

College Students Beginning the Career Development Process:

Considering Graduate School:

  • If you are about to complete or have recently completed your undergraduate degree, enter the GOALS program by clicking here.
  • If you are an experienced worker considering grad school, enter the GOALS program by clicking here.

Current Graduate Students and Other Situations:

  • Enter the GOALS program at any given stage according to your unique and specific needs. Click here

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Understanding the Stages in GOALS

What will “G” do for me?
Learn about Career Barriers and how they can affect decision making
Learn who you are based on your interests, personality, values and skills.

The “Gain Self Awareness” entrance section of the GOALS program will assist in identifying and discovering interests, personality types, values, skills and employment preferences, as they relate to your career. This stage serves as the initial step and foundation in the career decision-making process, allowing you to make informed decisions. By completing this section of the GOALS process, important details about yourself will help guide the decisions you make in the following sections.

What will “O” do for me?
Get informed of different career options such as choosing a major, career exploration, considering graduate school, and researching industries.

The “Options to Explore” stage of GOALS primarily encompasses researching information as it pertains to academic majors, occupations, labor market data and company profiles. This is the stage at which you would consider pursuing different career fields and/or educational opportunities. Whether you need to expand or condense your career related options, this section will provide you with the necessary tools to help with decision making.

What will “A” do for me?
Make informed decisions based on information gathered through informational interviewing, job shadowing, networking, career fairs, mentoring, volunteering, service-learning, and internships!

The “Active Decision-Making” portion of GOALS is the section in which you make informed career decisions based on the information you gathered in the previous two sections of GOALS. Although informed decision-making may take additional time and effort, you will obtain direct feedback from individuals who are working in similar career paths or who have similar career aspirations. This information will be a tremendous asset to the process.

What will “L” do for me?
Create a successful career campaign by effectively using job search strategies, networking, resumes, cover letters, portfolios, business correspondence, interviewing, evaluating job offers, negotiating salaries, and understanding benefits.

By this stage in your career development, you have made informed decisions about your career plan and you are now ready to strategically implement your job search plan. The “Launch Your Career” section of the GOALS program will help you initiate the job search stage of your career.

What will “S” do for me?
Consider alternative options to advance in your career such as going to graduate school, making a career transition, career advancement, mentoring, managing workplace stresses, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

At some point in your career you may need to re-evaluate and reflect upon the current status of your career choice, career path or other external factors. This section of GOALS will allow you to decide whether you and your career are ready for a change, based on economic, family, social, and other considerations.

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Tips for GOALS Success

• For assistance identifying the GOALS stages that correspond to your current career status, contact the Career Development Center to make an appointment with a career counselor.
• To find specific career topics, use the A-Z Index.

TOP 10—Where in GOALS should I go if I need help…

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Begin the GOALS Program

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