Tamagawa Garden

Vancouver IslandUniversity

Career Exploration

Career Exploration

Career exploration starts with knowledge of self and includes reflection, research, connection and planning.

VIU Career Studio is here to help you explore and navigate career choices, experiential learning opportunities, and labour markets.

Schedule a drop-in session at the Career Studio for in-person support, come by the Studio to gather resources, or simply start here with these four steps and begin your career exploration journey today!


Step 1. Reflection and Self-Assessment

Through self-reflection and assessment, we can learn a lot about skills, values, and preferred working styles. During the self-assessment phase, individuals gather information about themselves to help them make informed decisions. 

This information should include:

  • Values - things that are important such as autonomy, status, money, family balance
  • Interests - things an individual enjoys doing such as socializing or being in nature
  • Personality - personal traits such as attitude, needs, and personal motivation
  • Aptitude - things an individual is good at such as cooking, and their ability to learn something like computer skills.

The Canada Job Bank offers career planning quizzes and tests that may help you choose, change or develop your career.  You can use them as a starting point in your journey to get to know yourself better and explore values, interests, aptitudes, and a wide range of career opportunities. Career Quizzes and Tests

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter will provide some insight into personality. This assessment is simply one tool, used to learn more about temperament style. 

In the Career Studio, we will use the game, Who You Are Matters! This game is a starting place for students to explore through storytelling and self-reflection. 

Registration for game nights is coming soon!

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Step 2. Research and Exploration of Careers

There are many ways to explore careers starting with understanding an individual's wants, needs, skills, and capabilities.  It's a good idea to list possible careers of interest and start researching the requirements of those jobs. Online research is a great starting place to learn about careers, education, wages, places to work, etc. 

Labour Market Information (LMI) is a useful tool to:

  • research future jobs in the local area
  • learn about the skills needed for certain roles
  • gain an understanding of the demand for future employment
  • find information about wages
  • discover education requirements

Career developers, counsellors, and students use the National Occupation Classification (NOC) and related resources for career planning and exploration purposes.

Top Career Studio resources

NOC Career Handbook A collection of occupational profiles listing job titles, workplaces/employers, job requirements, working conditions, aptitudes, and relevant interests for different jobs.

Canada Job Bank Canada's national employment service, and the leading source of jobs and labour market information in the country.

WorkBC A British Columbia specific database of 500 career profiles with all the details you need, from job duties and wages to projected demand in your region.

WorkBC Career Trek  A collection of short, easy-to-watch videos that highlight a range of careers in BC, allowing students to see what it may be like to work in a particular occupation.

Education Planner BC EducationPlannerBC helps learners make well informed decisions about their education and career options. (Public institutions only)

An understanding of occupational definitions, employment requirements, and opportunities is central to the goal of matching the interests and aptitudes of individuals to the requirements and opportunities associated with occupations.


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3. Assessing and Decision Making

Research is key when trying to choose the right career. Assessing and deciding on a career path to follow, can be complicated, and sometimes it takes a few tries before the right path is chosen. That's ok!

Trying stuff is a cool way to find out if you like it!

At VIU, students can engage in Work Integrated Learning (WIL) through Co-ops and Internships. 

Visit the VIU website to find courses that have experiential learning built into the programming Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)

Are you in a program that doesn't have a mandatory experiential learning component? VIU offers INTP 300 to prepare students for an internship. All students in their first, second, and third year of studies are encouraged to apply. Find out more about adding an internship to your academic experience.

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4. Goals and Action Planning

Now it's time to plan and set SMART goals!  This is where we determine specific steps to take action. There are many ways to set a plan into action and it will be different for everybody; a plan may include further education, volunteering, networking, or travelling.

Think of a career action plan as a roadmap. Plans can change during the journey, new roads may appear and opportunities may present themselves through happenstance.

Career Action Plans are important because:

  • Having a career plan can boost confidence
  • Making good decisions about career can affect our health
  • Career planning can show us what doesn't work
  • We may learn something new and/or find new opportunities
  • Goal setting and action planning give us the power to decide our next move

Use these Career Action Plan questions to get started.

Remember: Trust your instincts and keep in mind that there isn't always a "correct" or "right" plan and plans change! Remain open-minded and curious, experiment with new things and look for clues, take risks, be flexible and go with the flow. Go ahead and walk through all the open doors, you just never know what you might find! 

First year student? View career tips.

Reach Out To Us

If you feel overwhelmed don't worry! The Career Studio is here to help. Follow the links below to connect with us in-person, digitally, or register for a workshop. 

Register for an Upcoming Workshop

Check out the Upcoming Career Studio events and workshops, and register through CareerVIU.

Book a One-on-One Appointment

Book a one-on-one appointment with a Career Peer Facilitator or the Career Services Officer.

Log in to CareerVIU and go to Career Studio>Appointments in the side menu to get started.

Email Your Questions to the Career Studio Staff

We are here to answer any questions you may have about the Career Studio, and to help support you on your career journey.