5 Step Career Development Model

The 5 Step Career Development Model is the theoretical foundation of the work we do in the CEC. It also provides a comprehensive approach with skill development and learning outcomes that demonstrate the required competencies for career preparation and management in the 21st century. It includes five developmental steps with a series of milestones that demonstrate knowledge of self, career paths, and academic and career opportunities:


  • Assessment: Assess fit and focus
  • Exploration: Explore and research options
  • Preparation: Create a strategic plan and prepare for employment, interim career or academic career
  • Implementation: Execute the plan and conduct a search
  • Decision-Making: Evaluate options and make informed decisions

Who It's For

The 5 Step Career Development Model is for all Simmons students who want to develop the career competencies that can be applied for lifelong career development. It addresses the full range of career needs, provides a clear road map, and equips students, regardless of level or field, with the knowledge and skills they need to manage their education and professional careers. It helps students connect their undergraduate major or graduate degree to future career interests and opportunities, prepares them to translate the meaning of their degree to employers, and guides them in making informed decisions in preparation for today's workforce. The 5 Step model also equips alumnae/i with the tools they need to manage transitions at any stage of their career.

How It's Used

As a proven model designed by the CEC team of career experts, we use the 5 Step Career Development Model in all our work at the CEC. This includes personalized 1-1 career coaching, skill building workshops and programs, a required career preparation course we teach as part of the Humanities 370 internship requirement, and more.

STEPS Undergraduate Career Development Plan

To learn more about the STEPS Career Development Plan based on the 5 Step Model and developed specifically for Simmons undergraduate students, visit the STEPS Plan page.