Plan your career and education

There are 4 essential steps to consider when planning your career and education. The intersection will inform your career goal of 4 important elements:

  1. what you love to do
  2. what you are good at
  3. where there is a need in the job market
  4. where you can earn a living by applying your passion and skills to solve real-world problems 
4 steps for career planning

What I love

What difference do you want to make in the world? This question can be answered by identifying your values. Jot down your answer to these questions:

  • “What gives my life meaning?”
  • “What real-world problems do I want to solve?”

What I’m good at

Identify your top interests. Your interests will likely combine the following interests:

  • social
  • commercial
  • administrative
  • analytical
  • creative
  • practical


You enjoy working directly with people and have good communication and flexibility skills. You likely have interests in sharing information, helping, guiding, or otherwise caring for people. With a social interest, you might enjoy a career in:

  • education
  • health care
  • social services
  • non-profit organizations


You enjoy persuading, leading, and supervising people and have good communication, organizing and selling skills. You likely have interests in directing or managing people, as well as material gain, power, and competition. You would probably work in a business-oriented environment with a commercial interest, such as:

  • retail
  • corporate
  • legal
  • political
  • tourism industries


You enjoy working with information and records, using your numeracy and dexterity skills along with a strong attention to detail. You likely have an interest in employment that is stable, secure, and clearly defined. With an administrative interest, you would probably work in environments such as:

  • business
  • government
  • retail
  • accounting industries


You enjoy working with ideas and data, using verbal, mathematical, analytical, and investigative skills. You likely have an interest in facts, details, and accuracy. You might work in university, medical or research facilities and will likely have success in:

  • science
  • research
  • data gathering
  • analysis


You enjoy variety and using your senses to create, communicate, design, or entertain. You likely prefer to make your own decisions and be autonomous. With a creative interest, you might work in:

  • galleries and museums
  • theatres
  • advertising firms
  • education
  • newspapers and other media


You enjoy working hands on, whether with animals, organic objects, or inorganic objects. You likely have good spatial ability and motor coordination. You might work in:

  • manufacturing
  • engineering
  • environmental or recreational industries

Some occupations require exceptional physical strength. Learn more about yourself by assessing your skills and identifying your top interests. Write them down. It is essential to locate where you can apply your skillset. Make sure you identify the skills you most enjoy using. If you have trouble identifying your skills, you can always ask those around you what your strengths are.

Where there is a need

The next step is to explore career options. It is important to consider the local labour market to identify growing and emerging occupations. Also, ask yourself, “What have I always dreamed of becoming?” Is there a demand for that occupation? As a result of automation, globalization, and rapid changes in the economy and the environment, the following skills will help you succeed in today’s labour market: 

  • curiosity: exploring new learning opportunities 
  • persistence: exerting effort despite setbacks 
  • flexibility: changing attitudes and circumstances 
  • optimism: viewing new opportunities as possible and attainable 
  • risk-taking: acting in the face of uncertain outcomes  (Planned Happenstance Theory, Krumboltz, 1979) 

With these skills in mind, you are now ready to explore possibilities and consider career options. Begin by searching career options alphabetically at the ALIS website. Pay particular attention to the educational requirements for the occupations that are of interest to you. 

Earn money using my passion and skills

Your career goal should be the intersection of what you love, your transferable skills, and where there is a need. Athabasca University is here to help you reach your goals once you identify them.  Explore Athabasca University educational programs.

I have completed the 4 essential steps for planning my career and education and have written down my thoughts. I want further assistance by speaking with a counsellor.

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Updated October 22, 2021 by Digital & Web Operations (