University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

A Career Development Model

Whether you want to move up, move around or grow in your current position, the Explore, Reflect, Act model can be very helpful. Each stage in this model provides a particular perspective on the search for satisfying work.


A first step in identifying possibilities involves looking internally to identify key interests, skills, values, priorities, personality, work style, and environment issues that are critical to your work satisfaction. The second part of exploringis to look at the work world around you to see jobs, careers and work options are available at the University. By reviewing these considerations, you make a more informed decision about your next step.

Exploring includes looking at your personal interests, skills, values, and work-life needs. Here are some suggestions and resources to help you explore.

  • Take a workshop to help identify what is important to you.
  • Check our career reading list
  • Meet with a career consultant
  • Check Career Center job postings
  • Talk to a University recruitment specialist
  • Find out more about job classifications
  • Find out more about departments at the University


Once you have explored who you would like to be and what is available, take time to reflect. Think through what is important in your life and in your work. Get a clear sense of your priorities, values, roles, expectations, and preferred balance between work, other roles, and obligations to yourself and others.

What works for one person's reflection may not work for everyone. Here are some ideas. Which ones work for you?

  • Take a workshop on a career topic
  • Talk over your options with your supervisor
  • Discuss your interests with trusted friends and family members
  • Go on a person retreat
  • Meet with a career consultant
  • Develop a personal mission statement
  • Find a mentor


After exploration and reflection, you are ready to take action. This may be in the form of small or large steps. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a workshop to strengthen your resume writing, networking, or interviewing skills
  • Take a college-level credit class to strengthen your skills or knowledge
  • Sign up for a professional development class
  • Develop career development or job search strategy
  • Become a volunteer at a non-profit agency in your spare time and learn some new skills
  • Network to find more career alternatives