The first step in your design is to accept where you are and work from there. You don’t need to prepare or have something figured out before you begin. Bring all of your questions, ideas, thoughts, and feelings into the process. Here are some of the many questions or thoughts you may be thinking that can be tackled through a design approach.
- What career options will enable me to make a decent living?
- What jobs relate to my studies?
- I don’t know what I’m good at.
- I am feeling stuck or unsure about what to do next.
- I am worried I don’t have a clear plan.
- How do I find a career where I can make a difference in the world?
- How do I get experience before I have experience?
- I just want to graduate and have a job lined up afterwards.
- I feel excited and ready to find a career that is right for me!
Good career planning comes when we pay attention to who we are and what we value, while making use of the opportunities, communities, and tools available to us. It requires knowledge about the world around us and an awareness of where our strengths, skills and interests align with what the world is looking for. It is a lifelong journey of consecutive decision-making.
What does career mean to you?
Set yourself up for success by clarifying your thoughts and expectations about your career. This information can then become a set of evaluative measures for your decision making about what to try and what is and/isn’t working for you along the way.
Choose a few of the questions below. Try a 10-minute free write activity or do some doodling – whatever works for you. Once you’ve jotted down some thoughts, share them with a friend or family member. You might be surprised by how unique your view and needs are.
- What skills do you want to use day to day?
- Which tasks in your life require effort, which tasks feel energizing?
- Where do you see your values showing up in your work?
- What defines good or worthwhile work to you?
- What does money have to do with career?
- What do experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with career?
What are your interests and values?
Two common indicators of career satisfaction are values and interests. Clarifying these can help you evaluate career possibilities and find a good career fit.
Try our Values Inventory worksheet (pdf) to practice identifying or clarifying your own values.
Consider how your identities intersect with career
Consider reviewing our career resources for equity-deserving populations, including students of colour, students with disabilities, LGBTQ2SIA+ students and Indigenous students to gain insights about how you can centre your intersecting identities in your career planning.
Focus on your strengths
Knowing what you’re good at will help you identify positions and environments where you are likely to succeed and your skills will be valued. Consider the following:
- What activities in your life require little effort?
- When and where do you feel energized?
- Which tasks, classes, or projects can you focus on for hours at a time?
- When have you felt most proud of yourself? What were you doing?
Not sure what you’re good at? Think about what people in your life rely on you for. Still not sure? Ask the important people in your life how they would describe you.
If you prefer using a tool that can give you insights, check out our self-assessment page for a list of resources.