Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterDivision of Student AffairsUniversity of Cincinnati

Career Development Center

Inquiry and Awareness



Stage 1: Inquiry and Awareness 

Think back to your family vacations growing up and how you hated it when your parents would drag you to things
like national monuments and museums when you just wanted to go to the beach? Well, that is what the Inquiry
and Awareness stage resembles. It’s that trip that seems too long and not too interesting, until you think about it
later on and realize it was good for you after all.

Inquiry and awareness involves discovering what makes you- you! You need to become aware of what you value
personally and professionally. For example, are you attracted to nursing as a profession because you value helping
others and enjoy the challenges involved with working in medicine? Helping others and enjoying challenges are
values. By becoming aware of your values, you can come that much closer to forming possible career choices. You
may ask, "How does my value of having lots of money or of being a working mother influence my major or career
choices?" Well, if you value having money then you may want to rule out professions that do not pay as well as others
(i.e., social work, teaching). However, you should consider how a "money making" profession places extreme demands
on time and energy leaving little room for anything else. See your values as they affect you holistically (your entire
person) rather than just professionally.

Also involved in this stage is the process of becoming more involved and engaged in the world around you. This may
manifest in your finding extracurricular activities to become involved in, establishing relationships with professors,
going to workshops or studying resources about majors, careers and the university. All of these activities can help
highlight your skills and their development. Learning new skills and cultivating current ones are important in your
self-assessment. If your math skills are terrible, should you be thinking more seriously about changing your major
from accounting? Career Development Center has many workshops, resources and other opportunities to help you
through this process. Self-assessment can be tough. An objective voice of a career coach can help put
self-assessment into perspective. Remember, we spend, on average, 50% of our lives at WORK. If you do not
become knowledgeable on what makes you happy and fulfilled, you can count on 50% of your life being unsatisfactory.