1. Identifying your interests/skillsThe first step of any career plan is to identify your interests.
A great way to identify your interests is to consider what you enjoy spending your time on and what you naturally excel at. Here are some questions to help you identify your interests:
- What are you good at?
- What do you care about?
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
- What do you enjoy learning about?
- What frustrates you in the world?
- What subjects do you find the most interesting at school?
- What do people ask you for help with?
Getting an outside perspective
To further explore your interests and strengths, talk to people who know you well. In the same way that you would use a mirror to get an outside perspective on what you look like, your parents, teachers, coaches, or good friends can provide you with a perspective on your skills, abilities and potential that you might not be able to see on your own.
You can ask your friends what they see in you by having them answer questions similar to those you’ve asked yourself about your interests. You can also get them to validate your skills inventory and see if they can think of anything you missed
2.Career expectationsConsulting people you respect and trust who have more life experience than you can help you make a more informed decision on which career path you should take. At the end of the day, however, you are the one who has to live with the results of your decision.
To manage the expectations you have of yourself when it comes to your career, you will need to think about what you hope to accomplish and, when possible, identify timelines. This will give you a sense of the direction you’re heading in and will make it easier for you to make necessary adjustments along the way.
Setting attainable goals
As you think through your personal expectations, consider making short-term and long-term goals. By making lists of things you would like to accomplish, you will be able to get a better sense of the expectations you have of yourself and track your progress along the way.
As you set your goals, consider the resources required to accomplish these goals. By setting realistic goals, you will set yourself up for success. You can also factor in research about the job outlook in your field.
Using your influence group
Your influence group is made up of people in your life whom you can ask for advice to help you make decisions, and who will support you on your career journey. This group doesn’t necessarily make the decisions for you, but their input, perspective and support can help you make well-informed decisions about your career and propel you to a successful career.
Your influence group can consist of parents, teachers, coaches, school counsellors, older siblings, other family members, or people you know that work in the particular field you’re interested in.
Learning from their experience
The people in your influence group have likely been in situations that are similar to what you’re going through now. Asking for their advice may provide you with some helpful insight on how they chose their career path.
3. Job outlookA good way to plan for your future is to determine the potential job prospects in your field of interest. You will need to go through labour market information and resources to help give you an overview of general industry information, including which industries have a promising job outlook.
Knowing your labour market
A labour market is an environment where employees and employers interact and exchange labour and work for wages and salaries.
Understanding the labour market can help you identify the industries or sectors in your region that are growing and have promising employment rates. Taking time to do your research as you plan your career can help prevent you from investing a lot of your time and resources in a field that has a high unemployment rate and minimal growth potential.
What labour market information can tell you
Labour market information can help you plan your career by providing you with valuable information to help you plan your future and manage your employment expectations.
How much money you could make. Labour market information can give you some insight on the average wages you can expect when working in a certain industry or region.
Which industries are hiring. Knowing the percentage of people that are employed in your industry or region can help give you an idea of the type of job market you’ll be entering. The employment rate can let you know that you might need to move to a different part of Canada to find work, or compete with a large number of trained candidates for a few jobs in your area.
About upcoming employment opportunities. Major economic events and periods of significant industry growth often create job opportunities, which can be reported in labour market information.
Which industries are growing. Labour market information can tell you how much employment or an industry grew in the last four months, and predict the future strength of your industry or region.
4. Training and educationOnce you’ve selected a career path, you may need to get the proper training and education that will allow you to work in your field. Our online university and college guide will be of great help.
5. Getting experience in your fieldBefore you can start your career, you will need to acquire experience in your field.
A great way to get experience in your field is to plan ahead and start looking while you’re still in school. Try looking for holiday or part-time jobs that could give you relevant experience and skills that could transfer nicely into your professional career. If you can start planning for your career while you’re still studying, you will be better equipped to land a rewarding job when you graduate.
Top five tips for getting experience in your field
1. Find a mentor. A more experienced person who works in the line of work you’re interested in can help you by giving advice on how they got to where they are in their career. Mentors are a great go-to resource to help answer questions you might have or give you advice on how to approach challenges you might be facing.
2. Do some research. Learn about the organizations or companies in your field that are close to where you live, or in places you’d like to live. You can also find out where the most jobs in your field are. Sometimes getting a job in your field requires you to move to a different part of the country.
3. Keep an open mind. It’s good to remember that careers develop over time, not overnight. Taking a job that might seem unrelated to your ideal career can open you up to new fields of work you didn’t realize you would enjoy, or teach you skills that could help you become a well-rounded employee when you finally land a job in your chosen field. Your first job doesn’t have to determine the rest of your life.
4. Everyone needs to start somewhere. It’s common for employees starting off in a new line of work to be expected to “pay their dues.” This means you might find yourself doing less than glamorous work to start off, but if you keep a learning attitude and do a good job, you will increase your chances of success. You might have to start off at the bottom of the food chain, but that will provide you with experience and open you up to potential opportunities in the future.
5. Take the part-time job. Although you’re probably looking for full-time work, experience gained from a part-time job in your field could help you get your foot in the door and get you one step closer to accomplishing your career goals.
Author: Sam Mwangi