Where Do I Start: Career Decision Making

Career decision making is what most people think of when they think about career development. Career decision making is exactly what it sounds like - making decisions about your career, primarily, what career you would like to pursue. In this article we will talk about different ways to help you make that decision, and link some resources that you can use to help guide you.


How do you choose a career?

This question is asked by people everywhere, constantly. We propose that you take a look at the diagram below. A career that suits you will ideally hit all three of these criteria. It should play on your strengths, be something you are passionate about, and pay you well enough to take care of yourself.  

This, however, opens more questions than it answers. How do I figure out what I am passionate about? How do I find what pays well? How do I know what my strengths are? Luckily, we will venture to answer these questions below!

How do I figure out what I am passionate about? 

One of the best ways to figure out what careers you are interested in is to try different careers! That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get a bunch of different jobs; there are many ways to try out careers.


  • Volunteering: Volunteering is a great way to try out different careers and understand things like the organization’s workplace attitudes, mission and values, and general operations.
  • Job Shadowing: Many workplaces open their doors to different job shadowing opportunities that allow you to spend a day or two in the shoes of someone working for an organization you’re interested in. An example of a job shadowing program is the MUN Externship program, which you can learn more about here: https://www.mun.ca/student/student-success/meet-employers/Externships.php 
  • Internships: Many companies and organizations also offer internships. Internships can be paid or unpaid and can give you a great sense of the workplace culture in a given company and can help you build connections if you decide you enjoy the work you do. 
How do I find what pays well?

Three words: labour market information, otherwise known as LMI. This can sound scary and intimidating to a lot of people; in reality it could not be more simple. There is a ton of information online about different professions, things like average salaries and what training you might need to pursue that career. One resource that is quite helpful for finding LMI is the Department of Advanced Education Skills and Labour (AESL) Labour Market Information page. Not only does this page explain what LMI is and define key terms, it provides in-depth profiles of different careers. You can find the page here: https://www.gov.nl.ca/labourmarketinformation/

How do I know what my strengths are?

Usually, you will have some sense of your strengths, even if it is as simple as “I’m better at writing than I am at math,” or “I’m better at working alone than with people.” Knowing these things, however, does not always translate to knowing your strengths in an employment setting. There are all kinds of aptitude tests you can take online to assess your strengths; the ones we recommend are the ones put forward by the Government of Canada. On their Career Planning page you can find 6 different quizzes that can help bring you closer to understanding your strengths in the workplace. You can find that page here: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/career-planning/quizzes 

Other resources

As we posted on the #wheredoistart page, there is also a workbook on career decision making created by the Canadian Council for Career Development (CCCD) that can help guide you through the process. You can find that workbook here: https://employmentcollaboration.ca/wp-content/uploads/Supplement-5b-CDM-Manitoba.pdf


We hope this guide to career decision making has helped guide you in your choices toward a career. As a final note, it is important to remember that your career choice is not permanent! Most people will have ~3 careers in their lifetime; give yourself the freedom to explore different opportunities and choose different careers. Now you know where to start. 


  • December 10, 2019