What is career planning?

College is often a time when students are exploring their career options. Counselling Services offers career counselling to help students gain clarity on their interests and career goals and find options that might fit for them in the work world. Counsellors work with students in individual counselling and relevant workshops to provide career assessments, information on options, and help students make informed career decisions. 

What is career planning? Career planning is a process of developing awareness of yourself and the work world to make informed choices about what career paths to pursue. This is a lifelong process. Click on the stage or stages below that you feel you are in to find information and online tools to help you navigate each stage of the career planning process. 

 

To make good academic and career choices, we need to first understand ourselves. Knowing our interests, strengths, personality, and values helps us figure out which option or options fit us best. 

Online Tests to Help You Know Yourself

Holland Code Test

Use this test to identify your top 3 interest areas. On your results page, scroll down to the “Suitable Careers” paragraph and click the link to O*NET Online’s interests-based search to see a list of careers that match your top interest areas. Visit Holland Code Test »

Career Cruising

Learn about your interests and related career options through the “Career Selector” test under the “Careers” tab and/or the “Matchmaker” test under the “Assessments” tab. Visit the Career Cruising website »

  • Username: langara 
  • Password: college 

16personalities.com

Take this test to learn more about your personality type. Click on “Career Paths” under your type to learn more about the common career interests and pursuits of people of your personality type. Visit 16personalities.com »

careerexplorer.com/assessments 

This is another free test that helps you gain insights into your personality and learn about your career preferences. Take the Career Explorer Assessments Test »

Values Test

Take this test to learn more about what your top work values are. Our values are different from our interests, which focus on what kind of work we like to do. Our work values guide why we work and how we prefer to work. Take the Values Test »

Services to Help You Know Yourself

Counselling Services offers career counselling sessions to help you explore your career interests, goals, and options. Book an appointment with Counselling Services »

The work world is vast and constantly changing. It’s important to learn what options are available to you and which of them fit your interests, strengths, personality, values, and needs. 

Websites To Help You Explore Your Options 

What Can I Do With My Major?

Use the What Can I Do With My Major website created by UBCO to learn about different jobs that you can do with the major or program area you are pursuing or considering. Here are similar sites created by UBC and University of Toronto

WorkBC.ca

This is an important website if you plan to work in BC after college. Visit the Explore Careers page to learn more about different careers and their earnings and outlook in BC. Visit the Career Trek page to watch videos that “bring 147 careers to life” through interviewing real-life BC residents working in those jobs! 

worxica.com 

Get a real-world snapshot of the industry demand in careers you're pursuing and identify future employers. You can also find the skills and certifications local employers require in your selected occupation. Visit worxica »

Services To Help You Explore Your Options

Langara's Co-op and Career Development Centre offers workshops on informational interviews, which is a great way to learn about a job or field you’re interested in through connecting with someone who works in that role or area and asking questions about their experience. 

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” - Nelson Mandela  

Once you have come to know more about yourself and your career options, it is time to make choices, such as choosing a degree or major or choosing a career path. It is natural to feel anxiety about making a choice. Often students feel pressure to make the “right” choice. However, there is no right choice when it comes to difficult decisions, such as choosing a career. We can make good choices that are based on our reflection of the information we have about ourselves and our options and our sense of what the best fit is between our values, interests, and strengths and the opportunities and options available. 

It is also important to remember that it is the norm to change jobs many times over your career and even change careers one or more time through your lifetime! Making good choices is something you will do over and over again, so even if you get it "wrong", you learn even from these experiences which helps you make even better choices in the future.

Tools To Help You In Decision Making

Decision-making Matrix

Use this tool to evaluate various options based on different criteria and how important each criterion is in your choice. Understanding your priorities, goals, and values will help you to figure out which criteria to use in this matrix. Review the Decision-making Matrix »

Rational Decision Making

Once you have researched your options, identify the pros and cons of each option, the values and needs satisfied by each option, and the risks involved with each option. Knowing this information, identify which options fit you best.

Intuitive Decision Making

Freud once said “In vital matters … the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.” The book Blink by Malcom Gladwell is all about how our intuition, our inner knowing without conscious reasoning, often helps us make good choices when used appropriately. Ways we can tap into our intuitive decision-making include: (1) imagining each choice and seeing how you feel and (2) making a choice in the morning and evening for several days and seeing what choice is more frequent, if there are any patterns, and how you feel.

Services To Help You In Decision Making

Counselling Services offers career counselling sessions to help you in academic program and career decision-making. Book an appointment with Counselling Services »

Once you have made a choice (congrats! That is no easy feat!), it is time to plan and then take action! 

Tools To Help You Take Action

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin 

SMART Action Plan

Do not underestimate the importance of action planning. Identify your goal and take some time to work it into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based action steps. Don’t forget to think about what barriers you might face that will affect your ability to take action and succeed in your goal. For example, do you struggle with procrastination? Does your goal include getting into a career or program that is highly competitive? What supports, resources, and strategies will you need to address these barriers? 

Indeed and Other Job Search Websites

Indeed and other job search websites are an important place to find and apply for jobs you are interested in. These websites also help you learn more about the diversity of jobs out there, which companies are hiring for roles you are interested in, and the common educational requirements for jobs you want. 

Networking Matters

Although applying to jobs online is important, it is also relatively easy (you can be in your pajamas on your couch applying to several jobs before the next episode of your Netflix show) and that means everyone does it and your resume is likely to get lost in a large stack of applications. Networking offers opportunities to build genuine connections that can help you hear about jobs that are not posted online and help potential employers set you apart from the stack of papers they have to go on when considering candidates. It’s harder and it’s also, like gardening, a long-game in which you don’t know which connection will offer opportunity. Regardless, it is an essential and powerful part the job search process. Read the Networking Matters article to learn more »

Services to Help You Take Action

The Co-op and Career Development Centre offers workshops on resume and cover letting writing, LinkedIn, job search, and interview prep. 

Gastown Vocational Services (GVS) offers career planning and job readiness support for individuals with a mental health diagnosis.