HR Management


Purpose: The purpose of this exercise is to help you begin to map out your own career journey. This career development exercise is based on Dr. Goering’s research on career success. The exercise is meant not as a definitive “map” of what your career journey will necessarily be, but to train you in the skills that people in the most successful careers use in their own career journeys. You can use these skills repeatedly again in the future, as you continue on your journeys.


Your assignment is to fill out the “career journey map” exercise worksheet and write a 2-page reflection describing your rankings and what information and/or resources you used to fill out the portions of the “map”. In other words, do the following:

1) Create a “career journey map” per the “career journey map” exercise worksheet (see below)

2) Write a 2-page (double-spaced) essay about the details of your journey map




Step 2: Fill out the career journey map worksheet. I strongly encourage you to do the first area of the map with a considerable amount of self-reflection. Spend the time for you to be sincere and honest with yourself. For the second area (i.e., “Need for Competence”), I would use objective data (e.g., grades, scores, awards) and/or other people who know you well to rate your level of competence. For the third area, you must use one or more outside resources to determine the level of “Need for Compensation”. “Compensation” is not only monetary or financial (e.g., salary), but it can also be prestige, status, and/or “fame”. As you rate the various occupations you have identified in the first and second areas of the map, please use interviews with people in those occupations and/or online job board information (e.g.,,,, to discover compensation information.


Step 3: With your Career Journey Map worksheet completed, go to O*Net and/or people in those occupations.


Step 4: Read Dr. G’s Harvard Business Review article about the “mindsets” that lead to career success.


Step 4: Finally, write a 2-page (Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced) reflection on the assignment answering the following questions:

· What did you learn from this assignment?

· Whom did you interview and/or what other resources did you use throughout the process? Why did you choose to use the resources you did?

· What did you find the most challenging aspect of this assignment? The most rewarding?

· What mindsets (from the HBR article) will you develop to help you in your career journey?


This assignment is due November 20th.

Upload the completed worksheet (last page, below) and the 2-page reflection (i.e., Step 4, respectively) as a single Word document onto Blackboard. Do not submit the Worksheet instructions; only the last page of the worksheet itself.


© Daniel D. Goering, 2021; Career Journey Map Exercise

Career Journey Map Worksheet (Balancing Needs)


Step 1: After great self-reflection, list the top 10-12 occupations (jobs) which you believe you would most love to do as a career. Rank each of those occupations in order, with 1 being that which you would love or enjoy most, 2 being the second-most, and so on.


Step 2: Move ONLY those occupations which are ranked in the top half of your list (i.e., the top 5 or 6 occupations you would love or enjoy most) to the next column to the right (“Need for Competence”). Now, provide a new ranking of those occupations based on how well you would do at each of them. Do your best to consider objective measures—grades in applicable courses, awards, and accolades—upon which to base your rankings. BE HONEST. You may even ask other people who know you well to rank how competent they think you are or would be at each of them.


Step 3: Again, take only the top half of your list (i.e., the 3 or so occupations you seem to be objectively most competent at performing) and place it in the next column to the right (Need for Compensation).


Step 4: Rank how well each of these will compensate you now and possibly into the future. “Compensation” means not only monetary rewards, but how well an occupation “pays” in terms of status, prestige, or other extrinsic rewards (e.g., stability). You will likely need to use a combination of resources to do this effectively. For example, you may use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook ( to see future job trends, including 2020 median pay, projected growth rate of an occupation, etc. You could also use other online resources to discover compensation data.


Step 5: Now that have identified 1 or 2 occupations that are likely going to fit you and your personal values very well, it is important to discover how to get into those occupations. Consider using a combination of online resources (e.g., the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook) and in-person resources. For instance, you may wish to reach out to someone in that occupation to gain a fuller understanding of what it takes to succeed in attaining—and sustaining—such an occupation. Many professionals, though busy, are happy to help out college students, so please do not be shy to reach out by phone, email, and/or social media (e.g., LinkedIn). Furthermore, consider visiting MSU’s Career Center for more resources.


Dr. G’s research (Li, Goering, et al., 2021; Goering & Li, 2021) shows that the occupation that ranks the highest or second-highest at the end of this exercise greatly enhances your probability of having both a financially successful AND a satisfying, happy career.







Step 1 Step 2 Steps 3 & 4


Need for Competence

(What I’m good at doing)

Need for Compensation

(How much it “pays”)

Need for Meaning (What I love doing)


















Step 5


What does it take (e.g., KSAs, degree) to attain—and sustain—this job?