Doing your homework on a new career

#Exploring your options

Making a career change is an opportunity for a whole new adventure. Start by doing your research and planning ahead.

You’ve been working at the same company for a while and are ready for a new challenge. Or maybe you’re getting ready to head back to work after a parental leave or layoff.

This might have you thinking about a new career altogether, whether that means starting your own business or going back to school.

Know that you’re not alone – research shows that most Canadians don’t think they’ll stay in the same line of work for their entire career. In a survey of over 1,000 people, nearly three quarters (73%) said they don’t expect to remain in the same profession for life(1). If you’re looking to make a career change, you might be unsure how to make your dream a reality.

Discover your strengths

Start by exploring what makes you unique. You may want to ask yourself things like:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I love to do?

You may even want to reach out to family, friends and colleagues for feedback about your strengths. If you need extra help, do some personality tests or talk to a career counsellor.


Do your research

Once you have an idea of what you excel at and might like to pursue, do plenty of research to understand what that opportunity would mean for you, both personally and professionally.


The job market: Is there a need for people in this profession? Are people with similar backgrounds and education getting hired? If you aren’t sure, visit the Government of Canada's website Opens a new website in a new window for more information on job market trends and news.

Your earning potential: Do some investigating about what you might earn in your new career. Think about how this figure compares to what you earn today and what that means for you and your loved ones. You may also want to consider if there’s room to grow or be promoted someday in your new career. While the earning now may be less, will you make more in the future?

Financial implications: If you need to go back to school to pursue a new career, what will that cost? Consult a few educational institutions who offer the program you’re looking into. Remember, there are experts who can help - consult a financial security advisor to put a plan in place to help you achieve your goals, both now and in the future.

In a survey of over 1,000 Canadians, nearly three quarters (73%) said they do not expect to remain in the same profession for life.

Talk it over

Most educational institutions have academic counsellors and admissions experts dedicated to helping potential students understand their options and what they can offer. Set aside time to talk to a counsellor about their school’s programs and what’s involved.

You may also want to chat with someone who is already working in the area you’re interested in. Who better to ask what it’s really like?


Did you know?

In some cases, provincial governments offer grants for those pursuing a second career. For example, Second Career Ontario offers financial help for those who have been laid off or are working part-time and need training, education and help with living expenses as they pursue a better job (2).

You can also withdraw up to $20,000 from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) as part of the federal Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) to help pay for full-time education or training for you or your partner (3). Each year, you’ll have to repay 1/10 of the total amount you withdrew until the full amount is repaid.

Whatever your career goals are, remember there are people and resources to help you achieve them.

Ultimately, a career where you feel fulfilled and happy is priceless – consider it an investment in yourself.