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Plan Your Career

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.

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.
  • Explore labour market information.
  • Put some thought into how you want to work.
  • 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.

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:

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 informational 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

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

Like the people in these videos, 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:

Exploring Career Paths: Recreation (3:22)

Sephra is interested in pursuing a career in recreation. Watch as she explores different career options to narrow down her interests within this broader field of study.

Career Inspirations: Popular Music (2:16)

Adam and Connor enjoy music and want to turn it into a career. Watch as they learn about the related occupations and education that will allow them to do that.

Career Inspirations: Traditional and Classical Music (2:46)

Angela enjoys playing the piano and the gourd pipe. Watch as she explores occupations and education inspired by her love of traditional and classical music.

Career Inspirations: Karate (2:32)

Alia enjoys karate. Watch her explore a variety of fitness-related occupations and education options that will allow her to continue putting those karate chops to use.

Career Inspirations: Animal Care (2:21)

Calvin enjoys working with animals. Watch as he explores a variety of career options such as Animal Health Technologist, Veterinarian, Zoologist, and Farm Animal Care Technician.

Career Inspirations: Graphics (2:43)

Cory enjoys digital graphics and design. Watch him explore creative occupations and educational options that will allow him to make use of those skills.

Career Inspirations: Lego Building (2:28)

Daniel enjoys building with Lego. Learn how he's turning that interest into career options in areas such as construction, engineering, and architecture.

Career Inspirations: Sewing (2:26)

Erika enjoys sewing. Watch her explore related occupations like fashion designer and museum curator, as well the the educational programs to help her get there.

Career Inspirations: Cooking (2:34)

Yasmin enjoys cooking and baking. Watch her explore related educational and career options related to food, including apprenticeship as a cook or baker.


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