Starting Your Career


Start your career planning today!


Your degree is the beginning of an exciting career


We're not going to tell you how to launch your career, because we don't know.
But we can prompt you to ask yourself the right questions and direct you to the right resources.


Here are 5 essential questions to ask yourself when looking to start your career.


The 5 essential questions

No matter what stage you're at in your career, we think you should ask yourself these 5 essential questions and strive to answer them, starting with #1.
Everyone must ask themselves these questions at some point. Why not do it sooner than later?

Your answer shouldn't just be a job title. Proclaiming that you want to be a doctor, says little about you as a person. Why do you want to be a doctor? What about it is attractive to you?

Asking yourself "Who am I and who do I want to be?" is possibly the most important thing you could ask. Do it now. Don't wait. Seriously. Then commit to finding the answers.

Here are but a few resources to help you on your journey.

For most career questions and assistance see Career Services.
For career counseling see Wellness Centre.
For career profiles and insights search OCCinfo.
For a list of personality tests see this post.
For job market trends and news see this Government of Canada website.
For more context, ideas, and insights don't overlook the value of family and friends.
Personal values are basically 'the things most important to you'. So ask yourself, what's most important to me in my life? Identifying your values is not easy, but the more work you put into them, the more useful they'll be. Try to identify no more than 2.

Your values help you make decisions. Let's say your top value is 'family'. That would likely suggest that you shouldn't take a job in a different city that would take you away from your family. But if 'achievement' is your top value, then you might want to take the job. It all depends on what you value most in life.

For one-on-one help visit the Wellness Centre.
For an overview of values and tips for finding yours check out these posts at Mindtools, Scott Jeffrey, and YouTube.
For in-depth insights get your hands on a book like Dare to Lead.
Values are the powerful decision-making tools you need when trying to make incredibly difficult career decisions. If you already know what you want to do for a career, how did you come to that decision? If you're answer to that question is; "my parents are telling me to do it", or "my friends are doing it", or "I just choose it randomly because I'm sick of not knowing", then you're likely on the wrong track. Instead, if you follow your personal values, the things deep within that make you tick, you'll become aware of a plethora of possible ideal careers.

For example: Many Mount Royal science students want to become Medical Doctors. If you're one of these students, ask yourself, "why?" "Why do I want to be a Doctor? What about that career makes my eyes light up? Is there any other career that could bring me the same fulfillment?" You might quickly realize that you want to be a Doctor because you like helping people. And there's one of you personal values: helping people. Do you think that the only way you could help people is by becoming a Medical Doctor?

On the flip side, if you already know that one of your top values is 'helping people' you can go through the endless lists of possible careers, sorting them into 'yes', 'no', and 'maybe' piles.

Remember, you don't have control over the job market, but you do have control over your personal values.

For one-on-one help see Career Services, and Wellness Centre

If you applied to your dream job TODAY would you get it? If not, why not? Do you not have the right schooling? Do you need to register with a professional regulating body? Do you require far more experience? Are you lacking certain skills?

If you write down the answers to these questions you'll have in front of you a checklist of many of the things you need to do to get your dream job.

Here's a very useful process we think you should follow:

  1. Search for your dream job in a job search engine like Indeed or Monster
  2. Find a job posting with a thorough description of the job and the requirements including skills, experience, schooling, etc (Hint: Government job descriptions are usually the most descriptive).
  3. Write down ALL of the job requirements in the form of a checklist with a box beside each item
  4. Check off the items that you already meet. Investigate the items that you don't meet to understand the tasks you must complete to meet each item

For example: Let's say you want to be a Medical Doctor. You find a job posting with a detailed job description and list of mandatory requirements. You write them all down. Then you check off the requirements you already meet. Then you investigate the remaining requirements starting with what appear to be the most important ones first, let's say: (1) a Certificate of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and (2) a Doctorate in Medicine. How do you go about meeting these requirements? Well to receive a Doctorate in Medicine you need to graduate from Medical School. To do that, you must first get into Medical School. To do that you must apply to Medical School. And to do that must research Medical Schools and fully understand the admission requirements. There, you've got a general checklist and roadmap to work towards your dream job. Now you just need to make a plan and implement it!

Here's where you take the initiative and get creative. Maybe choose one of the job requirements first, break it down into logical first-steps, then do everything you can to take that first step.

For example: If you need a Doctorate of Medicine to get your dream job as a Medical Doctor then identify the first step, 'research your top 3 Medical Schools'. Next, do it, research their program websites, email them, and call them for clarification. If one of your main barriers to entry for your dream job as a Medical Doctor is your lack of experience, identify your first step, 'find an entry-level position in the medical field, paid or unpaid'. Then do it, talk to people in the field, build your resume, and apply for positions.

For lists of job and volunteer opportunities see the job bank by Career Services, the Science and Technology Opportunities page,, Volunteer Connector, and


Here are some of the most common questions we hear from students when thinking about their career.


Common student questions

Feeling lost and overwhelmed when thinking about and planning your career? You're not alone!
The answer to this question is obviously highly subjective and personal. We believe a more beneficial question to ask is: "What CAN'T I do with my degree?" Will a Chemistry degree, for example, prevent you from being a doctor, pharmacist, politician, etc? It won't! It will however, help you build some careers quicker than others.
Here is an EXTREMELY limited list of some of the careers for each major.
Major Possible Careers
General Science
Environmental Science
  • Agrologist, P.Ag.
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Environmental Monitor
  • Environmental Compliance Specialist
  • Air and Water Quality Consultant
  • Reclamation Specialist
  • Waste Management Specialist
  • Sustainability Advisor
  • Professional Geoscientist, P.Geo.
  • Petroleum Geologist
  • Exploration Geologist
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Government Geologic Surveys and other research positions
  • Museum Researcher/Curator
Computer Science
  • Application analyst/developer
  • Systems analyst/developer/administrator
  • Data analyst
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  • Corporate security specialist
  • Web developer 
  • Gaming & Multimedia specialist
  • Software engineer

If you know that a major barrier to entry into the workforce is your lack of relevant work experience, then you should start actively trying to gain as much experience as possible. You've probably seen job postings for entry-level positions that require a minimum of 2 years of experience. But how can you expect to get that job right out of university if you have no experience? Ask yourself these questions: 'What qualifies as experience?', 'Do I already have any experience that is even mildly related?', and 'How could I gain relevant experience while in university?' Paid employment IS NOT the only way to gain experience.

Here are some possible ways to gain experience while in university:

  1. Start, run, or join a club. Volunteering with a club, especially in a leadership role, is possibly the BEST way to gain experience while at university. If you were to ask any Alumnus that took an active leadership role in a club, if that role served as a valuable experience and skill-builder, they would almost certainly say 'YES'. Contact SAMRU to join a club.
  2. Get a job on or off campus. This is your classic way to gain experience. If your circumstances allow for it, try to get a part-time job during school or a full-time job during the summer. Even if the job seems in no way related to your desired career path, try to extract transferable skills (ie: teamwork, time management, communication, customer service, etc.) out of the experience that can be applied to almost any other job. To find opportunities see the job bank by Career Services, the Science and Technology Opportunities page,, and reach out to your network.
  3. Volunteer on or off campus. Ideally, you could get paid while gaining experience. However, gaining unpaid experience is often than gaining no experience at all. Plus, there are nearly an infinite number of volunteer opportunities out there, you just need to take the initiative. Plus, volunteer experience occasionally leads to paid positions. For lists of volunteer opportunities see the job bank by Career Services, the Science and Technology Opportunities page,, Volunteer Connector,, and reach out to your network.
  4. Conduct undergraduate research with a professor. Undergraduate research can be a fantastic experience. If you would like to conduct research, reach out to your professors and ask them if there are any opportunities for you to do research with them or anyone they know.
  5. Make the most of your classes and class projects. Ask yourself 'What qualifies as experience?' You might soon realize that the work you do in your courses (group work, papers, presentations, etc.) could easily fall under the definition of 'experience'. The more work you put into your courses, the more you're likely to get out and the more valuable your experience.



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