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There may be more than one way to acquire the skills and knowledge you need to make your next career move. Find out more about the training paths that may be available to you.
You may know that you want to take more education and training. You may even know what you want to do when you finish. But making sure you get there means thinking about the ways you learn best.
People learn in different ways, but most of us usually use a single style or method more often than another. Knowing your preferred method of learning may help you with your studying techniques.
Once you've identified a career direction and the education and training you need to make it a reality, your next step is to explore schools and programs.
Explore possible graduate earnings based on all sources of employment in a given tax year. It is important to note that some graduates may have been employed in jobs outside their field of study and the information is based on median (midpoint) earnings.
Discover which institutions offer programs of interest to you, how long it takes to complete each program if you attend full time, and what type of credential you earn when you graduate from the program.
An apprenticeship is a post-secondary education program that combines work experience, on-the-job and technical training.
Distance learning is also known as distance education, distributed learning or online learning.
Going to school part-time can give you flexibility to work while you study, take care of your family, or ease your course load.
Check out these directories of post-secondary schools and programs outside Alberta.
From on-campus daycare to student residences to accommodating disabilities, there are plenty of services you’ll want when attending a post-secondary school. This features chart will help you uncover which services are available at each of the 26 publicly funded post-secondary schools in Alberta.
Consider these suggestions to help you choose the post-secondary school you will attend.
Think about which program and school will best fit the plans you have for your career. Exploring your learning and training options is a key part of career planning. The most important thing you need to know is why you want to take an education or training program.
You have options when it comes to paying for school. Most students fund their education with a combination of money earned, saved, and borrowed or awarded.
As a post-secondary student or recent graduate, you may be thinking about your job prospects. Try these 4 steps to help prepare you for the workforce.
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Plan Your Career

Plan Ahead: 4 Steps to Finding Work in Your Field of Study

As a post-secondary student, you may have been working to help pay for your education and invest in your future. And, you’re looking forward to finding a job in your field after graduation. But not everyone has an easy time finding work that’s relevant to their education or in line with their career goals.

Whether you’ve recently graduated or are still studying, you can follow these 4 steps to help you successfully transition into the work you’ve been studying for.

1. Revisit your career plan

When you entered your post-secondary program, you probably had a specific occupation in mind. Your studies may have reinforced your interest in your career goals but through them you might also have discovered new career options or new ways to apply your training. Or things may have changed in your life and in the labour market that could make you reconsider your goals. Whether you’re still in post-secondary or recently graduated, now is an excellent time to revisit your career plan. And, if you haven’t started a career plan, go to CAREERinsite. This online career planning tool will help you align your life and work with your skills, interests, and dreams.

Other ways of exploring your career plan include revisiting occupations on alis and elsewhere to review your options and consider how broader trends in the workplace might affect your chosen line of work. You might also look at job postings in your field, explore Alberta’s latest wage and salary data, and look at earnings for your post-secondary field of study. This will give you a better sense of what employers might offer you once you’re done school and employed in your field. Recognize that, as someone without a lot of work experience, your initial earnings will likely be at the lower end of those ranges.

2. Update your work search tools

It’s always good to keep your work search tools updated so you’ll be ready whenever an opportunity arises.

  • Student job banks and college career centres continue to be helpful, even after you graduate. But you should also be looking at major employers in your industry and other job banks that will help you find jobs that move you closer to your career goals.
  • Build your resumécover letter, and references. If you don’t have a lot of past work experience, consider using a functional resumé format to focus attention on your skills and accomplishments. And know that you’ll continue to edit and adapt these materials to suit each new job you apply for.
  • If you have a work-oriented social media profile, make sure it is up to date. More and more employers are now going to social media sites to find information about potential hires. Make sure your social media networks will make a positive impression on employers and other work-related contacts should they look you up online.
  • Prepare for success at your job interviews. Bring a positive attitude, present yourself as a well-groomed professional, and show that you’ve researched the company and the job opportunity.

3. Learn about the labour market

The labour market changes constantly in response to supply and demand. It is influenced by local and global changes in population, technology, and the economy. Things may be different now than when you first entered your post-secondary program. Use some of the following resources to learn about labour market trends in your chosen field or others that might be related:

Labour market trends are often cyclical. If employment for your chosen field is currently competitive, consider investing in further training or experiences that will give you an edge over other students in your field. You can also seek employment in a closely related field that might be emerging or in higher demand.

As with all labour market information, do your best to consult multiple sources and check the dates of the forecasts to see if they are current. If the forecast is out of date, you'll need to consider whether or not the trends it identifies still hold true for you today.

4. Build your experience

Because you’re just finishing or have finished school, you might not have the work experience employers in your field are looking for. As part of your plan to enter the workforce, you may need to find ways to offset your initial lack of experience. Thankfully, you don’t always need direct job experience to show employers you have many of the skills they are looking for. Think about the transferable skills you gained during your classes, while working and volunteering, or during a co-op program or internship:

  • Remember all those essays and presentations? They demonstrate communication skills.
  • What are exams if not evidence of problem-solving? Or maybe you helped iron out a scheduling problem at the campus food bank. Any time you pitch in or take the lead to help others, you're probably practicing your problem-solving skills. Look to these instances for examples you can add to your resumé.
  • If you incorporated feedback, or took part in group work while also doing solo projects, you showed you can be adaptable and a team player.
  • You worked with minimum supervision and planned your time to achieve your goals, which shows how you can work independently.

Take the time to identify significant experiences in your life and think about the skills that those events might have demonstrated. Continue practicing and thinking about these skills as you gain new experiences.

Now you’re ready to show potential employers that you have the training and skills they need. But what if you can’t find the job you want right away? While you continue your studies or search for work in your field, always look for ways to build experience, increase your knowledge, and develop your transferable skills. Check out these ideas to get started:

  • Internships. Apply for an internship to gain job skills in a workplace setting and build relationships with an employer in your field. Search job banks for internship opportunities.
  • Networking. Use your networking skills to contact people who know you. Grow your network to include people in your chosen field. Tell them what you plan to pursue for work and seek their advice.
  • Campus career services. Contact your campus career services office. Explain that you are looking for work or volunteer opportunities. Tell them you want to build your transferable skills, knowledge, and work experience so that you are better qualified for the job you want.
  • Career fairs. Attend career fairs to make industry contacts and conduct informal interviews with these businesses. Learn about the skills, experience, and qualities employers need, and find out about upcoming job openings.
  • Information interviews. Set up information interviews to show your interest in various companies and learn more about them.
  • Career-related jobs. Even a part-time job in a related field may be a great way to gain relevant experience. When searching for occupations, use your field of study to filter results and find related occupations that may have additional job postings available.
  • Volunteer opportunities. You can gain workplace experience and more by volunteering. You can find volunteer opportunities at Go Volunteer. To find a volunteer centre near you, visit Volunteer Alberta.
  • Self-employment. To build the experience you need, you might be able to freelance or start your own business. To help you decide if that’s a good fit for you, explore these self-employment resources.
  • Informal learning. If you are looking for hands-on experience, try asking people in your network to teach you a skill. You can also look for a mentor, someone who can guide you and give you advice about your career.

Start now

The sooner you follow these 4 steps, the sooner you can address the experience gap that many students face when they first graduate from post-secondary. By revisiting your career plan, updating your work search tools, learning about the labour market, and building your experience, you’ll present yourself to future employers as a skilled and valuable hire in your field.

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