Don’t know what program to take?

Career planning isn’t about deciding what you will do for the rest of your life today, it’s about continually exploring opportunities. Every decision you make, big or small, is a valuable step on the path to success.

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:

Career Aptitude 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.”
    CONSIDER: The Nursing program is highly competitive – what if you don’t have the grades required to get into the program? Are there other fields you can think of where where you can help people?
  • “I want to work in a legal field so I can keep dangerous criminals off the streets.”
    CONSIDER: Many legal careers (police officer, paralegal, law clerk) involve enormous amounts of paperwork, all required to be court-ready and defensible. Detail orientationAttention to detail and communication skills are paramount in these fields. How are your verbal and written communication skills? Do you enjoy writing and are you detail oriented?
  • “I think computers is a good choice because there are a lot of jobs.”
    CONSIDER: Computer programmers and systems specialists certainly have in-demand skills, including problem-solving and being detail orientated. Think of all aspects of these careers including communication, math, and analytical skills that are required in this industry. Does your skill set fit?

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.

A great way to really get a feel for a specific career or industry (and build your network) is to volunteer. Here are some sites that you may find helpful when searching for volunteer opportunities:

211 Ontario
211 is a helpline and online database of Ontario's community and social services. 

Care
Individual volunteers, whether they are professionals, retirees, or students, can benefit from volunteer engagement with CARE Canada through opportunities to expand their skill sets, meet people, gain experience through a challenging work assignment, lend back their valuable experience to CARE, or gain an affiliation with the organization.

Charity Village
Charity Village is one of the largest and most popular websites in the world devoted exclusively to the non-profit and charitable sector issues.

GoodWork
GoodWork is Canada's largest community of environmental changemakers, sustainability professionals, job seekers, and volunteers. It's a hub for all Canadians who want to work for a greener, healthier, more sustainable world.

Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN)
The collective voice for volunteer centres and volunteerism in Ontario.

SPARK Ontario
Discover volunteering opportunities and connect with non-profit organizations.

Volunteer Canada
Volunteer Canada provides national leadership and expertise on volunteerism to increase participation, quality, and diversity of volunteer experiences.

Volunteer Toronto
Volunteer Toronto is Canada's largest volunteer centre with over 40 years of experience connecting volunteers to the organizations that need them. Local volunteers are empowered to find opportunities that make a positive difference in their community. Through in-person and online training, Volunteer Toronto also educates and helps non-profit organizations and community groups run successful volunteer programs.

It’s less scary than you think! Networking can provide valuable information and advice to help you set your goals; people you already know are a good place to start. Talk to your friends, family, co-workers, and classmates about 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 also a 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.

Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) uses the models of the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) and National Occupational Classification to develop projections on the number of job openings and job seekers for 293 occupational groupings at the national level, covering the entire workforce. The projections allow for the identification of those occupations that may face labour shortage or labour surplus conditions over the medium term. The latest projections cover the 2019 to 2028 period.

CAREERinsite
An easy-to-use site from the Government of Alberta that walks you through the 5 steps of the career planning process.

Employability Skills
Turns out, there’s more to a job than knowing the job!  This site will give you information on the skills you need to enter, stay in, and progress in the world of work, regardless of the job title.

Guide for Midlife Career Moves
Need we say more?  A midlife career change is not the same as career planning in your teens or early 20s.  This downloadable PDF is another terrific resource from the Government of Alberta.

Job Bank
The labour market info section of this Government of Canada site contains valuable information on salary, prospects and location data for a variety of jobs across Canada.

NOC National Occupational Classification
Canada’s official career directory with over 40,000+ job titles organized into 500 occupational description clusters.

Ontario Colleges Program Employment Profiles
An ever-popular question for our Student Recruitment team is “what do grads do after they graduate from this program?  Here’s where to find out!  This site contains Ontario College graduate feedback and employment statistics.

Ontario Labour Market - Job Profiles
Explore 500 job profiles to find the one that's right for you. As you explore, add job profiles to your list to view and compare highlights.