Whether you are a high school student, a new graduate, or are already out in the workforce, the labour market will present you with career choices that will encourage you to make decisions. Start with a search of the jobs in demand near you and consider your job options. If your job interests are not available in your city, you will need to consider relocating to an area that does. Once you have decided whether you will work locally or have to relocate, ask yourself the following: Do these jobs interest me? Can I apply my skillset here and grow? Does this workplace reflect my values?

Making career decisions as a high school student:

There are a few things that you can do when you start picking classes that qualify you for programs in post-secondary institutions, and ultimately, the workforce. Start by searching what jobs are in demand in your area. Next, ask yourself what areas you are willing to relocate to for a job. Finally, talk to your guidance counsellor. Once you have gathered some information, take some time to reflect on what you have learned. Here is a list of things you can do when making career decisions as a high school student:

  • What are your interests, talents, and skills?
  • Is there room for growth so that you do not feel stuck?
  • Do you have the opportunity to intern or co-op in workplaces that align with your interests?
  • Ask your guidance counsellor where you can start volunteering to gain experience
  • Attend job fairs and talk to the professionals (they can help you determine expectations and plan ahead to help you prepare for the job).
  • Have a backup plan: make a list of five potential jobs that promote and support your interests and skills.
  • Start early, but also remember that it is never too late to make changes.

Making career decisions as a post-secondary student or recent graduate:

Career decisions can be very challenging when you are a post-secondary student or recent graduate because you feel you have already invested so much time and money into the last 3 to 5 years. Many students decide to complete a program they are not interested in simply because they have already committed a couple of years to it. A lot of the time, this results in graduates who do not like their programs and are not interested or invested in their career possibilities. Access to money to pay for a new program and living expenses might also act as a limitation. With this in mind, here is a list of things you can do when making career decisions as a post-secondary student or recent graduate:

  • Remember, it is never too late to make changes that will make you happy with your career.
  • Become aware of your strengths, abilities, and skills.
  • Ask where you see yourself in five years. If it is not working in the field you graduated from, seek career advice.
  • Meet with your academic advisor. They can tell you if your classes are transferable to a new program of your interest.
  • Explore your opportunities. Academic advisors can make you aware of a co-op placement in order to gain experience.
  • Share your interests. Academic advisors can provide you with career opportunities where your skills are transferable outside of your program but align with your interests.

Most importantly, remember this, your academic experience is work experience. So, when an employer is asking for years of work experience, remember that receiving a certification, diploma, or degree is years of work experience and apply for the job that interests you.

Making career decisions when already a part of the workforce

After spending some time in the workforce, and possibly years in the same position, you might start to feel stuck and unsure where to go. But just like for high school students, post-secondary students, and graduates, it is never too late to make the changes that will make you happy with your career. Here are some things you can do when making career decisions as an individual who is a part of the workforce:

  • Identify why you feel it’s time for change.
  • Become fully aware of your skills. What can you improve on? What is transferable?
  • Ask your employer about skill development programs offered by the business/organization.
  • If it’s time to change employers, determine what organizations will support your skill development and growth.
  • Think about what industries you can apply your skills to and which one will create pathways.
  • Evaluate your plan and act on it when you have the proper tools and support.

No matter where you fall in these categories, reach out to Workforce WindsorEssex, your workforce and community development board for tools on upscaling your skills, writing your resume, and job opportunities.

Have any questions or any additional tips? Please contact: info@workforcewindsoressex.com

Taking Your Job Search Online is developed in partnership with South Essex Community Council and funded by United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund.