During my undergrad, I always felt a sense of uneasiness when I was asked the question, “What do you want to do when you graduate?”. I remember being in awe when I would hear students around me confidently responding to that question. I was jealous.

I mean, let’s be real, I struggle to decide what to order on the brunch menu, and now I’m being asked to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life?! In the end; however, there was no question that I needed a job as soon as I graduated.  

During my last year of university, I was under the impression that I had to make a concrete and permanent decision about my career path. It was as if selecting one path would entirely determine my career path, and affect my opportunities for others. Looking back - and trust me on this – that was very naïve thinking!

Career paths are a lot like relationships: it’s not just about knowing what you want, it’s also about recognizing what you do not want. When I graduated, I scrambled to get the first full-time job that came my way and that’s when I learned exactly what I did not want out of my career. It was not the job for me AT ALL! Did that render my time there useless? Absolutely not! Aside from the insights that inched me closer towards a fulfilling career, I did gain transferable hard and soft skills that were instrumental in my future roles. That being said, I know I could’ve made a more well-informed decision for my first official job.

At this latter stage of your academic career, it’s important to reflect on your interests and double-down on your strengths. It’s also important to eliminate the idea that making a career choice now will remove all future opportunities going forward. It is worth putting in some time to reflect on what path you may want to take. Before you embark on your career journey and begin applying for jobs, here are 4 tips to help you discover the right career path for you:

1)     What are you passionate about?

Passion is very important when deciding on a career path because you want to be motivated and feel like you’re making a positive impact. Think about the different subjects you enjoyed studying. What do you enjoy reading? Have you done any volunteer work that you absolutely loved? Or, take a career test from your school! This is also a great tool as a starting point for insight and self-reflection.

2)     What’s your work-style and preference?

You’ll also want to think about your own preferences when it comes to what type of work environment you’ll thrive in. Do you like a fast-paced environment? Do you like to build or create something tangible? Or maybe you like problem-solving and focusing on one task at a time. Do you love communicating with people on a regular basis? There is no right or wrong answer to this! It’s important to consider the day-to-day tasks that a job requires because you may fall in love with a specific industry or company, but quickly learn that the day-to-day doesn’t align with what you enjoy doing or how you like to work.

3)     What are your options?

It’s important to think about the intersection between what you’re good at, what organizations need, and what the world needs. Find the “sweet spot” which is the overlap between these 3 areas. Remember, job titles only tell you so much about a role, but the job descriptions will give you more details about the skills and tasks it focuses on.

4)     Network!

I can’t emphasize this enough, but networking is crucial no matter what career stage you’re in. In this case, being the beginning of your career, network with individuals in the industries you’re most interested in. Speak to your family and friends, maybe they have contacts for you or even start searching on LinkedIn and send messages! The best way to learn is by speaking to experts in the industry. Ask them powerful questions - you’d be surprised to know how different certain roles are from your perception!

It can be a stressful process to find the right career path and we may not know for certain what the best next step may be; however, reflecting on these important aspects will help in your decision making. Being in a job that I absolutely love, I can say that the investment in self-discovery is worth the reward when you have a career you enjoy!

Written By: Ana Moaz, Senior Consultant, Talent Acquisition


To discover your career path with Scotiabank, check out our Campus Careers page and learn more about our TILT New Graduate Development Programs!