Chapter 5: Career Development

5.3 Career Planning 

Through career planning a person evaluates their abilities and interests, assesses their values and personality, considers alternative career opportunities, establishes career goals, and plans realistic professional development. The goal is to be ‘employment ready’.  Career planning requires you to understand yourself and your skills. It is an ongoing process, which should be repeated with changes in employment and life circumstances. As you gain more experience and knowledge, you reassess and begin again. (Westcott & Anderson, 2020)

Passion, Values, and Strengths

As you start your career planning, consider this – a meaningful career has three parts Passion, Values and Strengths.

Passions: What drives you to do work with joy? A passion for helping others, a passion for enriching the lives of people through recreation, a passion for watching people grow and develop under your leadership…

Values: Values reflect your sense of right and wrong, and strongly influence your attitudes and behaviour. Example: If you value women employees, and the company you work for does not value women employees, chances are, you will choose to work for a place more aligned with that value.

Strengths: The things you are good at, or skilled at. These can be hard skills and/or soft skills.

When you work in a place whose values are aligned with your own, you are going to be happier and more productive. It feels like a fit. When you add in your own passions and strengths, it feels like coming home.


cave entrance in Ovens, Nova Scotia
Cave entrance in Ovens, Nova Scotia

You need to create your own successes and generate new opportunities. You need to take a practical approach to the direction of your future by being a “careerpreneur.” This is an idea presented by the Career Professionals of Canada in which you independently manage your own career path. Instead of waiting for your future to magically fall into your lap, it becomes imperative that you take a more assertive approach to finding valuable experiences and engaging in growth opportunities. By gaining a broader range of experience through different roles, you will diversify your skill sets while becoming more adaptable to new challenges. Consider your placement experience while a student, your first step on this road!

The Career Professionals of Canada suggest some ideas that will help you to make that happen:

  • Be prepared and well-researched. Know your market and develop a strategic job search plan according to your goals, interests, market, and industry.
  • Be a persuasive communicator. Be able to explain the skills and competencies that make you stand out from your competition.
  • Be up to date with industry requirements and cultural trends. Lifelong learning and continual skills development will leave your options open as you progress through your career.
  • Be strategic about developing your network and seek out mentorship opportunities. Don’t just get connected, maintain your connections and don’t be afraid to ask for information or advice.
  • Be flexible when faced with roadblocks. Don’t attribute blame to yourself if you experience rejection, let this fuel your motivation to succeed.
  • Be creative. Think outside the box and propose solutions while incorporating others’ feedback.
  • Be responsible. Consider other sources of income in order to sustain yourself in an unstable job market.
  • Be smart. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you in your career centre and community.


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