A Practical Guide to Career Planning

The Capilano Courier and Career Development Centre work together to help narrow down your future 

Megan Amato // Associate News Editors 

Start Planning Early 

Career planning should ideally begin when or even before you first enter the post-secondary world. The Career Development Centre (CDC) recommends giving yourself time to explore your own skills, interests and values to discover your ideal professional industry that you “revisit, reexamine and readjust” them throughout your university career. “It takes months if not years to get a sense of what you want to do. The reality is it’s never a linear path,” said Maja Horgas, Career Development Advisor at the CDC.  

Understanding Your Values and Interests 

The first tangible step you can take whilst career planning is to examine what your interests and skills are. What skills do you have? What skills do you want to learn? How do you picture your work-life balance? What kind of workplace do you want to be a part of? Once you’ve assessed what you are good at and interested in and what your values are you can start looking at what industry is the right fit for you. “Knowing yourself, knowing your values, knowing your interests and knowing where your skills are will help you make those decisions in a more realistic way,” Horgas said. 

Strategic Planning 

Don’t stress too much if you still aren’t sure about what you want to do, focus more on where you want to be. Once you’ve assessed your own skills and interests, you can start looking for the professional industries that match these values. “There are over 20,000 occupation titles out there. There is a whole sea of different opportunities and options. You need to be able to navigate between those beyond the job title. More focusing on the skills and industry that you want to be in.” 

Market Research 

After you narrow down industry, you should do research on what jobs are available in the current market and climate so that you can create realistic and achievable goals. Once you’ve done the research, the next step is creating an action plan and with realistic and researched short-term goals for you to achieve on your way to your long-term plans. 


Use the opportunities given to you throughout your university career to explore your options, gain experience and meet people in your potential industry. Join the debate team, go to networking events, get involved with the CSU, *cough* write for the Capilano Courier *cough* and develop your professional brand. “When you are engaging in activities early on, you are also probably engaging with the people that are in your industry one way or another. You’re building a network, your building relationships. [This is] a huge way of accessing the market when you’re close to actually being in the market.” 


Allow for your goals and values to change, grow and evolve throughout your university career. Remember that career planning often isn’t a short-term process. These experiences and opportunities throughout your university career can alter the paths you take to your career and how you get there—revisit your goals, reevaluate your skills and readjust your plan as you go.  

Ask for Help 

Never be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, peers, teachers and career professionals. Talk to people in your industry, discuss your interests with your teachers, pick your friends and family’s brain. If you have any career development questions, the CDC is always happy to provide resources to get you on track with thinking about your career. 

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