Tools to start planning your career journey

Good career planning requires information about you, the world of work and a commitment to take action. It all starts with you: knowing yourself, exploring your options, making thoughtful decisions, setting short- and long-term goals, and taking the steps to achieve these goals.

Be Intentional about managing your learning, work and leisure activities to inform your way forward. Stay open, be curious, try a variety of things and then reflect, so you understand why you are taking the direction you are taking. 

The following activities may help you on your journey.

Career planner

This workbook can help you to connect your subject preferences, interests, personality, and values to occupational options through reflective exercises and online assessments.

Exploring occupations

Our library showcases over 200 occupations, providing occupational descriptions, educational requirements, labour market information, job banks and opportunities to engage with professional organizations.

Career Compass

The Career Compass is a guide to supports, services and experiences to maximize your academic and career success.

Please note: the Career Compass list is not exhaustive. Refer to the Academic Calendar for a complete list of programs offered at the University of Manitoba. Career consultants and academic advisors are available to help you develop your career and academic plan.

Plan your career path

If you are new to career planning, it is recommended that you work through all the activities outlined below. If you have already started your career planning process, look through the activities and select the ones that will help you continue your journey.

Knowing yourself

You are the expert in what you need and want in your career! The more you know about your interest, skills, values, and abilities the more likely you'll be able to make choices consistent with who you are.

Starting with the self-assessment process can help you to identify suitable occupational options and/or increase your confidence by confirming that you are on the right career path.

View the questions below to see if this section is really for you. This section will help you better understand your values, skills, interests, abilities and personal characteristics (from the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide).

Is this section really for you?

  • I am clear about my values and what is important to me?  
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I know my personal characteristics?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I am clear about my interests?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I can name occupations that interest me and align with my current understanding of myself?
    No / Sort of / Yes

If you did not answer a full yes to one or more of these questions completing one or more of the activities in this section could be useful to you. If you answered yes to all you may wish to move to the section on Exploring Your Options.

Self-Assessment

It's up to choose a career that's "right" for you. To start your journey you will need to have a good idea about who you are and the activities you enjoy. This information will give you a foundation for making your career and life decisions.

It is important and can be extremely helpful to look for a relationship between your values, interests, strengths, talents, personal characteristics and your current or past occupational considerations.

Key considerations / things you will want to think about are:

You might also take a look at our Career Planner (PDF).

Exploring your options

Good career decisions require good information—about your personal traits and preferences and about the world of work. Now that you have completed the self-exploration activities and identified some career alternatives it's time to gather information about the world of work. Information about jobs, occupations and employment prospects is called labour market information (LMI).

LMI can be found everywhere; Government departments, sector councils, newspapers and professional associations publish great information. To help you start exploring we've compiled information for you on approximately two hundred occupations. Thousands more exist! To explore education and training options we've put together a listing of several different training institutions. Be creative when thinking about potential career and educational options. And be curious! Remember—good research can lead to more satisfying career decisions!

View the questions below to see if this section is really for you. This section will help you better understand the labour market – job descriptions, educational requirements, employment requirements, wages, trends and outlooks (from the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide).

Is this section really for you?

  • I know where to look for information on occupations?  
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I know what pieces of information are important to making a career decision?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I know websites that have the occupational information I need and I can find that information on the sites?
    No / Sort of / Yes
     
  • I know how to use my network of family and friends for information?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I know how to find employers and working professionals to interview for information on occupations?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I know the occupation I want to pursue and am ready to make an action plan to achieve this goal?
    No / Sort of / Yes

If you did not answer a full yes to one or more of these questions completing one or more of the activities in this section could be useful to you. If you answered yes to all you may wish to move to the section on Making Decisions.

Occupational Research

Use the Career Research Worksheet found on page 27 of A Guide to Planning Your Career (Manitoba Career Development) to document your occupational research. We recommend you research at least three to four career alternatives that interest you. Gathering and reflecting on this information will help you to feel confident in making a well-informed decision.

Personal contacts are also extremely valuable, often providing "up-close and personal" views of occupations. Once you have narrowed down your career options consider using mentoring and job shadowing programs to gain additional information to help guide your decision. Checkout the Career Mentor Program to connect with industry professionals for informational interviews that will help you formulate your career plans. Career Mentors share information about their occupations and offer practical, timely career advice. Use the interview notes worksheet on page 48 of the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Decision-Making Guide to document your findings.

Making decisions

You have gained a better understanding of yourself and have researched several career options using labour market information and personal contacts – it's time to make some decisions! Be aware that the decisions you make now don't have to be perfect or set in stone. The decision you make is only the best it can be based on what you know about yourself and the labour market at this moment (Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide). As you participate in classes, job and volunteer opportunities, and other experiential learning, you will discover more about the world of work and about you. What's most important is that you take the time to reflect on these experiences – What you liked and didn't like? What opportunities you were drawn to? How what you have learned and experienced might impact your plan and maximize opportunities?

View the questions below to see if this section is really for you. This section will help you evaluate the career opportunities you have researched and select a starting point for your career journey (from the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide).

Is this section really for you?

  • I have made a decision on the career path I will start on?
    No / Sort of / Yes

If you did not answer a full yes to this question completing one or more of the activities in this section could be useful to you. If you answered yes you may wish to move to the section on Setting Goals.

Career Decision Making Profile

Before you get started, it could be helpful to understand what type of decision maker you are. Do you require a lot of information? Do you seek the advice of others or do you make decisions fast and with little information? The following tool will help you assess your decision making style and make recommendations to help balance your approach to decision making.

Career Decision Making Profile (External Resource - CCDQ.org)

Evaluating Options

Career decision making can be challenging and as a result individuals may put it off, or take minimal time to review options. There are several decisions to be made within the career planning process including:

  • the field you want to enter,
  • the training institution you will attend, and
  • what paid/unpaid experiences you want to engage in

When making decisions about each of these aspects, focus on the competencies (knowledge, skills and attributes) you want to develop. Decision making that is thoughtful and reflective will lead to a more satisfying career choice.

You have likely started to identify occupations that are in line with your vision for the future. Once you have narrowed it down to three or four pathways start to compare occupational options with the results from your self-exploration. Use the template provided to evaluate each option and choose a career and educational path you would like to focus on.

Career Decision-Making Chart Page 33 (External Resource - Manitoba Career Development A Guide to Planning Your Career)

Setting goals

You have completed self-assessments, researched career options and decided on a career path, the next step is to set goals and create an action plan.

View the questions below to see if this section is really for you. This section will help you create an action plan to achieve your short and long term career goals (from the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide).

Is this section really for you?

  • I have a plan or road map in place that will guide my actions?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I have identified goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-limited?
    No / Sort of / Yes
  • I have identified both long and short term goals to help me get to my preferred future?
    No / Sort of / Yes

If you did not answer a full yes to these questions, completing one or more of the activities in this section could be useful to you. If you answered yes to all questions you may wish to move to the section on Implementing My Plan.

Your action plan should include both short-term (achievable in one year or less) and long-term goals (achievable 1-5 years) and a plan to ensure you are taking advantage of opportunities, reflecting on your experiences, celebrating successes and making adjustments to meeting your overall objectives or clarifying your focus. Once you have identified short and long term goals, identify action steps that will help you achieve the goals. Ensure that you are realistic about the time and effort necessary for each step.

Remember to consider challenges you might face along the way so you can plan in advance how to address these and access support as necessary. While you are action planning keep in mind your "Plan B" or parallel plan so you can adapt seamlessly if necessary.

Action Planning Resources (PDF)

Implementing your plan

It's time to start working toward your career vision and implementing your plan.

View the questions below to see if this section is really for you. This section will help you implement your career plan and address challenges you may experience along the way (from the Canadian Career Development Foundation Career Planning Guide).

Is this section really for you?

  • I have an action plan that is ready for implementation?  
    No / Sort ofYes
     
  • I have identified a "Plan B" to remain adaptable?  
    No / Sort ofYes
     
  • I have identified potential challenge and possible supports to address these challenges should they arise?  
    No / Sort ofYes

If you did not answer a full yes to these questions we suggest you move to the section on Setting Goals.

Accessing Supports

During the implementation process it is important to access all the supports available to you. Consider your personal network - family, friends, teachers and professors as well as supports within the university community – Career Services, Academic Learning Centre, Academic Advisors, and Student Counselling Centre to mention a few.

Visit your plan often to evaluate whether you are still on track, celebrate successes and determine if any changes are required. Assess what you have learned from the activities you have engaged in and determine if your plan needs to be adjusted based on this new information about you, your preferences and things you are drawn to.

As you get closer to your identified long term goals you may be able to add additional action items and identify new opportunities and supports to help you achieve your goals.

If at any time you feel stuck or unsure how to get where you want to go contact Career Services. If you have already accessed our services call for an individual appointment.

What if I don't get into the program that I want?

What if I'm not admitted into my program of choice?

Admission to professional programs and some faculties is becoming increasingly competitive. Students are encouraged to parallel plan or have a back-up plan in place when applying to competitive programs. This plan might be to apply again while also taking more courses and exploring alternative occupations.

When planning ahead or dealing with admissions results, it can be important to refer back to the career planning process and consider (1) your career preferences who you are, and (2) your knowledge of industry. Ask yourself: Why did I originally choose this occupation, faculty or program? Does this option still make sense - how does it fit my aptitudes, interests and values?

Your feelings and reactions are also important and may impact how you move forward after a rejection. When career plans are halted or delayed many emotional responses can follow, including feelings of disappointment or frustration. Communicating this news to others can also feel daunting. To learn more about resources that can help and for supportive tips and strategies, click here

So, what's my next step?

Many factors may influence your decision: grades, interests, aptitude, finances, geography, family and community. These are significant to career planning and will be addressed throughout this resource.

Also consider gaining further insight through paid work and volunteering!

Experience in an industry or career-related position can help you learn about the field as well as your work preferences. This, in turn, can assist you in making future career decisions. A Career Consultant and our CareerCONNECT job posting board or others can help you locate relevant volunteer work, part-time jobs, summer jobs or full-time employment.

Same occupation but different path or program

Employment and educational requirements for an occupation may vary. Explore different paths and programs!

Apply again

What resources and actions can help you succeed next time? Identifying obstacles will help drive your next steps. Start planning now!

Select another Occupation

There may be related occupations you haven't yet considered. Learn more about other occupations.

Get one-on-one help

Meet with a career consultant

Talking to someone about who you are and what you want out of your life can help to clarify what comes next in your career journey.

Whether you are completely unsure about what is out there or just want more information about an occupation, you can meet with a career consultant for a confidential discussion about career planning.

Career consultants help you figure out your future—by helping you connect your interests to occupations, determine the degree path that suits your unique occupational goals, make informed career choices, find experiential learning opportunities, or build excellent job search strategies.

Career Services is providing distance delivery services.

Student support will be provided through telephone, e-mail and video conferencing. If you require assistance, please contact our office at 204-474-9456 or cs.receptionist@umanitoba.ca to make an appointment.

Fort Garry campus drop-in:
474 UMSU University Centre
Mon: 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Tues: 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Wed: 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Thurs: 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m

Bannatyne campus by appointment:
S211 Medical Services Building
204-272-3190

Talk to an academic advisor

Your career and academic plans are intertwined. Academic Advisors in your faculty will assist you as you enter university, navigate options and plan your courses, make decisions about your degree, and get support for academic success.

Find your advisor

Making connections