Don’t know what program to take?

There are plenty of online (free!) tools to start your research.  Your results aren’t set in stone, but can really help get you thinking about what career choices might fit you best.

Try these:

123 Career Test
Several Free tests relating to self-exploration.

Career Cruising
You may have played with this a bit in Grade 10 Career Studies, but you’ll find your answers are a bit different now that your thinking is a bit different. Designed for people of all ages to help them determine areas of interest, access to Career Cruising is available free of charge through most public library web sites.

Career Quiz
Part of a Service Canada site, quiz results are linked to career dictionary. Create an account in just a minute.  Once you log in, look for Career Navigator in left-side menu. This quiz explores abilities, values and interests.

CDDQ Quiz
Career Decision-making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ) that is useful for those having trouble making a decision.

Community Employment Services
Want to talk to an actual human who can help you to make sense of all this research?  Visit a nearby Community Employment centre for a variety of free services.

Be open-minded about your options

Some common statements we hear:

  • “I want to be a nurse because I want to help people.”
  • “I want to work in a legal field so I can keep dangerous criminals off the streets.”
  • “I think computers is a good choice because there are a lot of jobs.”

These are all great starting statements, but they are incomplete.  Some other statements to consider:

  • Nursing is highly competitive – what if you don’t have the grades required to get into the program? Is this the only field where you can help people?
  • Many legal careers (police officer, paralegal, law clerk) involve enormous amounts of paperwork, all required to be court-ready and defensible. Detail orientation and communication skills are paramount in these fields.
  • Computer programmers and systems specialists certainly have in-demand skills, not the least of which are problem-solving and detail orientation.

To determine which program and credential is right for you, use some of these questions to help you figure out what kind of work would suit you:

  • What career options sound appealing?
  • What qualifications are required to work in the field?
  • What kind of a demand is there today and what is predicted for the future job market?
  • Are there any special requirements for the job?
    • Some occupations have specific medical and physical requirements beyond academic qualifications.
    • Some occupations require you to pass a criminal reference or vulnerable sector check in order to be employed.
  • Are additional certifications or licenses required to secure employment?
    • Examples include various motor vehicle licenses along with a clean driving abstract, First Aid, CPR, Smart Serve, professional certifications or accreditations.

Explore these items before you apply to avoid potential issues or disappointments. Find out more about and if there is something you need to know ahead of time.

What are the working conditions? Will any of these apply to your future job?

  • Working outside in all weather conditions
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Working remotely and communicating with colleagues and customers through online or telephone communications?
  • Spending most of your day in a vehicle visiting many locations
  • Significant travel
  • Being in a laboratory or industrial facility requiring you to wear safety equipment
  • Being comfortable with heights or confined spaces
  • Shift work, overtime, weekend work or flexible hours
  • Long-distance commuting
There’s a lot to consider!

Career planning is not deciding what you will do for the rest of your life today. Career planning is about continually exploring opportunities and making choices. Every decision you make, big or small, is a valuable step taking you down the path to success.

Networking

It’s less scary than you think!  Networking can provide valuable information and advice to help you set your goals. People who you already know are a good place to start. Talk to your friends, family, co-workers, and classmates to let them know what careers interest you.  There are also plenty of ways now to start the conversation online, which might be a little less intimidating.

Information interviews are great way to learn what a typical day is like in the professions you are considering.  Most people who enjoy their work are willing to impart advice to people looking to start or change careers.

Check out these networking sites:

LinkedIn
Create a profile outlining your goals and experiences so far. It is easy to connect with industry professionals and DC alumni to gain valuable industry insights.

TenThousandCoffees
Connect with industry professionals and ask industry-related questions via email, phone or in person.