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Explore Your Occupational Options

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.

This article is part of a series:

For step 2, start by making a list of options you want to explore. You may already have some occupations and industry sectors in mind. (Transportation and energy are examples of industry sectors.)

Learn about different occupations

Here are some suggestions to help you create or add to your list:

  • List your favourite school subjects. Now go to OCCinfo. Use the search filters for “High School Subjects” and “Field of Study” to find occupations suited to your favourite subjects.
  • Search the web. Use the search engine you prefer. Enter a search term with your interest + occupations (for example, enter horses + occupations). See what turns up.
  • Do industry and company research.
  • Explore labour market information.
  • Try the values and interests exercise and the values self-assessment quiz at CAREERinsite. They will match you to occupations you might like.
  • Learn strategies to determine what's next.
  • Learn more about occupations.
  • Use this checklist to explore jobs or career options that match your skills and knowledge.

Ask questions

Find out as much as you can about the occupations and industry sectors that interest you. Start by listing the questions you want answered. Use this starter list:

  1. What are the day-to-day activities in this line of work? Duties? Responsibilities?
  2. What are the typical working conditions? For example, is it outdoor or indoor work? What are the hours of work? Is travel or overtime required? What are the health hazards?
  3. What employability and work-specific skills are needed?
  4. What personal traits are needed?
  5. What type of education do you need? For example, do you need high school or post-secondary training? Is an apprenticeship required?
  6. Is a specific licence, certificate, degree or diploma needed to do this type of work?
  7. What training do most people in this type of work have? For example, were they trained on the job? Or did they graduate from a specific type of training program? Which training programs are most respected by employers in the field?
  8. If graduation from a training program is required, where is this training offered? How long does the training take to complete? How much does it cost?
  9. Are there any special physical, legal or social requirements? For example, will you need to be able to lift heavy objects? Will you need a specific class of driver’s licence? Will you have to entertain clients in the evenings or on weekends?
  10. What are the future job prospects? How will changes in technology and society affect this type of work? Will this type of work still be needed in 5 years? In 10 years?
  11. What is the typical pay range for this type of work? What are the chances for career development and advancement?

Find answers through research

Check out the following resources to find answers to your questions:

  • Go to OCCinfo for complete profiles of more than 550 occupations. You'll also find information about Alberta’s post-secondary schools and programs. And you can find answers to many of your questions about industry sectors and occupations.
  • Check out the ALIS occupational videos. They feature real people in real occupations. Each video is 5 to 7 minutes long.
  • Visit your nearest Alberta Works Centres. It’s a great place to look for research help and resources.

Find answers by talking to people

People who work in an occupation or industry are great sources for up-to-date information. So are people who have specific education or training for that work. You may learn information that’s difficult to find any other way. Try these suggestions to reach people who can answer your questions:

  • network to find out more about your career options. If you know people who do work that interests you, ask them about their work and other similar types of work. Ask the people you know to refer you to people they know in occupations that interest you.
  • Do some information interviews. In other words, talk to people about their work and industry. It's easier to talk to people you already know or have been referred to by a mutual friend. But you can also consider making some “cold calls” to get the information you need.

Try to get hands-on experience

Some answers you can only get through hands-on experience. Try these options to get a feel for a program, occupation or industry that interests you:

Discover the career option that is right for you

Your research will expand your list of job options. You may discover occupations or industries that are new to you. Then you can narrow down your list of options to find the ones that are the best fit for your values, skills and interests.

So go exploring! Discover the career options that work for you.

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