My Career & Education Plan

In 4 Essential Steps

By: Connie Covey

There are 4 essential steps to consider when planning your career and education. Your career goal will be informed by the intersection of four important elements: a) what you love, b) what you are good at, c) where there is a need, and d) where you can earn a living by applying your passion and skills to solve real-world problems.

My Career Cycle image


Ask yourself, “What difference do I want to make in the world?” This question can be answered by identifying your values through questions such as “What gives my life meaning?” Also ask, “What real-world problems do I want to solve?” Jot down your answer to these questions.


Identify your top interests. Your interests will likely be a combination of the following interests: Social, Commercial, Administrative, Analytical, Creative, and Practical.

Social - 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 work in education, health care or social service facilities.

Commercial - 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. With a commercial interest you would likely work in a business-oriented environment, such as retail, corporate, legal, political or tourism industries.

Administrative - You enjoy working with information and records and doing office administration, using your numeracy and dexterity skills and attention to detail. You likely have interest in employment that is stable, secure and clearly defined. With an administrative interest you would likely work in environments such as business, government, retail, or accounting industries.

Analytical - You enjoy working with ideas and data, using verbal, mathematical, analytical and investigative skills. You likely have an interest in facts, details, and accuracy. With an analytical interest, you might work in university, medical or research facilities, and likely have interests in science and research, data gathering and analysis.

Creative - 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, all levels of schools, newspaper and other media with as much variety and autonomy as possible.

Practical - You enjoy working with animals and organic or inorganic objects. You likely have good spatial ability and motor coordination. With a practical interest, you might work in environments such as manufacturing, engineering, environmental or recreational industries; some occupations require exceptional physical strength.

Learn what you are good at, assess my interests to identify your top interests. Write down your top three interests.

Once you have identified your interests, it is also important to identify your preferred and transferable skills. Make sure you identify the skills you most enjoy using. For example, perhaps you naturally enjoy sharing information, helping, guiding or otherwise caring for people. You may have strong communication and instructional skills and perhaps you enjoy working with children.

Not sure what your transferable skills are? Ask those around you, “What do you think I am good at?” “Can you help me identify my three strongest skills?”


The next important 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 rapidly changing 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: taking action 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: ALIS website. Pay particular attention to the educational requirements for the occupations that are of interest to you.


Now it is time to bring it all together. Your career goal should be the intersection of what you love, your transferable skills, and where there is a need. Once you have identified your career goal, Athabasca University is here to help you reach your goal. Explore Athabasca University educational programs

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