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The second step in planning your career is to explore the occupations you’re interested in and maybe discover some new ones. Find the tools you'll need.

Go to another section Know Yourself, Explore Options, Get Ready or Take Action.

Career Options Research

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In this section you'll talk to people and research occupations. Start your research with things that you can read or watch.

Hands-On Experience

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One of the best ways to explore a career option is to try it. There are several ways to get hands-on experience in an occupation, educational program or industry without making a major commitment.

By exploring your options you can find out:

  • What people do on the job
  • What the working conditions are (hours of work, shift work, indoor, outdoor, seasonal)
  • What the training or educational requirements are
  • Which skills people need to do the job
  • What the employment outlook is
  • What typical career paths are available

Explore what will work for you...

Looking at Challenges and Opportunities

There are thousands of career options. This is both a challenge and an opportunity.

The Challenge: Explore career options without feeling overwhelmed.

The Opportunity: Explore career options you may not have thought about.

Here's how to manage the challenge and make the most of the opportunity:

  • Know your interests, abilities, work values, skills, traits, preferred working conditions and multiple intelligences. If you aren't sure what these are, check out Know Yourself.
  • Focus on 1 occupation and explore all aspects of it. Choose an occupation from My Favourite Occupations in My Career Plan. If you still haven't chosen an occupation in your Career Plan, check out the Interests Exercise and Abilities Exercise.
  • Browse to see what occupations grab your interest.


Pick the way you want to work. Shift work or regular hours? In an office, at a warehouse or on the road? Explore these choices so you can find the occupations that fit your career.

Think sector/industry

Broaden your search by looking at industry sectors not just the jobs within them. For example, it you're interested in nursing, think health care. Interested in computer programming? Think information technology.

Validate your sources

Be careful where you get your intel. Many groups present information in a way that supports their own goals. This is true of organizations, businesses, political causes and lobby groups. Claims that sound too good to be true usually are.

Make sure the info is up-to-date

Check the date of information you're using. Is it current? Information about jobs can go stale quickly. This is just as true about the future. We can't be sure what may happen years into the future. Information with those kind of predictions shouldn't form the core of your career plan. But it can give you some insight as you gather research.

Check out many sources

Gather information from a number of sources. Compare what you find. Can you note biases? Use various sources to create a well-rounded perspective.

Think geography

Look for information that applies to where you're living now or where you'd like to live. Some types of work are only available in specific locations. Examples would be jobs that are only in large urban centres or only in remote areas.

Watch for patterns and themes

Do people keep talking about the same jobs, programs or businesses? Are you interested in this area of work? Are you looking in the right place for information? These patterns may be pointing you in promising directions.