Whether you live in Edmonton or Vancouver, finding the right career requires research, understanding yourself and acquisition of new skills and knowledge. Oh, and there’s another thing. The courage and ambition to pursue a new career path!
Let’s break down your career discovery journey into four steps:
- Identify interesting occupations.
- Evaluate your skills and strengths.
- Develop those skills and obtain experience.
- Pursue your career.
Identify Interesting Occupations
This part takes some patience when finding the right career. There is a ocean of opportunities out there, so where to start? Focus on activities you love, whatever they may be. Write down what comes to mind. It doesn’t matter if it seems improbable.
After that, look for patterns. Think about activities, programs or topics you enjoy. Even if they don’t seem like a viable career, you may find there is potential when you are finding the right career. You also want to take some time to overcome the obstacles stopping you from finding your new career. This involves answering some of the tough questions that creep into your mind like:
- Can I afford to change careers?
- Have I left it too late to pursue a career change?
- What are the job prospects for this career path? Is it in line with where the Canadian economy is headed?
Once you have some of that heavy lifting out of the way, now it’s time to research skills and requirements for specific careers. How does this compare to your current skills and strengths?
Evaluate Your Skills and Strengths
Now is the time to figure out the skills you have for your potential career and the skills you need. The best part is that you aren’t starting from scratch. You have skills that transfer to any career you choose, such as
- Time management.
- Computer literacy.
- Leadership skills.
- Problem solving skills.
- Management abilities.
- Attention to detail.
Compare your transferrable skills to the ones needed in each career you’re considering. Make a list of the skills in each career you need. This will definitely narrow down your career options because you may not want to pursue a career based on skills needed and the comparative difficulty for acquiring them.
Develop Those Skills and Obtain Experience
If you have chosen a career that requires experience or skills you don’t have, so what? You can still gain the skills and experience you need in different ways. For example, if you are employed, look for opportunities on projects that give you that experience. In addition, you can:
- Take on temporary and contract assignments.
- Volunteer in those areas.
- Take courses.
- Look for job development programs.
However, many occupations have strict formal educational requirements – degrees, certifications, licenses. Do you have the time, patience and financial ability to support furthering your education to meet those requirements?
After evaluating your skills and wetting your feet in your potential career, it’s time to dive in!
Pursue Your Career
Now that you have identified your career and obtained skills and experience, the job hunt begins. But it’s going to take more than just applying online to job boards. You’re going to have to work extra hard to stand out against candidates who may have already worked in that type of job and industry. So, get out in the community! Join professional organizations to network and build your connections. Go on informational interviews, take people out for coffee, and be seen as a knowledgeable and interesting person. When applying for roles, make sure you can draw clear parallels between your past experiences to your career of choice. Focus on your achievements and the value you’ve brought your past employers. You may even consider starting your own business in your new career!
Don’t fall into the terrible trap of thinking that work is “just a job” and not a career. Finding the right career isn’t something you should dream about – it’s something you should actively pursue. Best of luck!