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What career is right for me?

A OYAP teacher hands a student a pamphlet at a Build A Dreamcareer discovery expo in Kitchener, Ontario.

When high school students ask, “What career is right for me?” the answer is often, “Follow your passion!”. So what if you haven’t discovered what that is yet? How do you find your passion? Experience!

Career exploration (and the career planning that follows) requires work, commitment, and dedication to seek out answers and find new opportunities, but by asking questions, testing pathways, and exploring new skills, you could find enthusiasm for a new subject and eventually discover a career..

How do i figure out what job will make me happy?

Start by asking yourself some questions and writing down your answers. You can talk to a teacher, parents, or mentors to get extra feedback.

  • What makes you happy? What do you love? What do you read?
  • What are you good at? Do you have natural abilities?
  • What are you knowledgeable about?
  • Do you have interests that you could turn into a career?
  • What are your values and beliefs?
  • What talents or skills do you already have in place? What ones do you want to build?
  • Where do you see yourself? What is the life you want?

How do I narrow down my career choices?

With some of your answers in-hand, set aside time to speak with someone who can help you begin exploring careers. A guidance counselor can offer career insight, might have worksheets or a career test for you to take, and can help you to start aligning some of your interests with career goals.

What can I take in high school?

Today’s high schools offer a variety of ways to prepare for the future. From career-specific programs to earn-while-you-learn placements, the opportunities are there.

  • GENERAL CREDIT – Look for technological education and/or career-specific courses that offer the ability to build skills and work on real-life projects.
  • DUAL CREDIT – Students who take a college-level course during secondary school can graduate with both a high school and post-secondary school credit.
  • SPECIALIST HIGH SKILLS MAJOR (SHSM) – You can bundle field-specific courses and workshops together to graduate with a special seal on your diploma. Specializing may help you find and refine (or even change) your career goals.
  • YOUTH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM – Find a trades-based program that combines school training with job placement that allows you to graduate with the first year of your apprenticeship complete. Some of these employers even pay students during the placement.
  • CO-OP PLACEMENT – Co-op allows students to earn credits through the completion of work placement (may be unpaid or paid depending on high school / university level and placement) and is an excellent way for you to learn new skills and gain valuable experience.

Outside of the classroom, there are several ways to build skills and explore different jobs:

  • Join extracurricular activities (like FIRST Robotics)
  • Find a mentor and interview them
  • Attend skill-building camps or workshops
  • Volunteer to get work exposure (and build your network!)
  • Visit open houses at post-secondary institutions, union halls, army recruitment offices, and other organizations
  • Check your local workforce board or economic development organization to determine what jobs are in demand

As you try new things and build your skills, you will discover what things appeal to you the most. This can help you decide on a career (or narrow down your choices) so you can make a plan for your future.

Career guide for women in Canada

Families might not know where to start the career conversation so Build a Dream has simplified the process. The #HerPower Career Guide is filled with career resources for women created from questions and data collected from workshops, expos, and research. The guide offers advice and resources, highlights under-represented careers to explore (especially highly paid jobs in Canada), and includes worksheets for brainstorming and tracking plans.

What career is right for you? It might take you some time to figure it out. Start exploring today!

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