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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Choose a path​​

Career planning or choosing a career path is important because it helps you focus on a clear goal and gives you a better chance of success.

To decide on a career path, you need to explore two key areas – knowing yourself, and finding out what jobs or careers are out there.

Know yourself

Getting to know yourself empowers you to seek out jobs or careers that suit yo​ur skills, interests, values, needs, strengths, goals and dreams, and gives you a clearer picture of what you might like to do and would be good at. To get to know yourself better, consider the following four questions. Think about all your experiences when responding, including employment, education, hobbies, sport and voluntary or communi​ty activities.

Values How do I want work to fit into my life? What matters most to me in a job?

Interests What interests, activities or roles do I enjoy? What about in the past? And what do I really not like to do?

Personality What are my personal qualities and strengths – for example, honesty, determination, desire to learn?

Skills What am I good at? What am I not so good at?

Other people's stories

Sometimes hearing how other people figure things out can help you do the same. Maya, Tom, Anita and Tony have got a story to share about how they chose their path. Use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow and see how they went about getting to know themselves and choosing their pat​h.   

Maya, 18, grew up and went to school in the North West of WA. She completed a Certificate II in Business during years 11 and 12, and for the past three years has been working part time at Coles.

Maya is very engaged with her local community, particularly eco and conservation issues, and she also does volunteer work with a local animal rescue group.

Her love of the environment and experience as a volunteer has helped Maya realise that she wants a future where she can make a difference in her community. Now she just needs to figure out how to get started on her path.

Tom, 20, grew up in the bush in the South West of WA. He loves nature and being outdoors, and he's really into WA's native fauna.

Tom finished school at the end of year 10 and then spent a couple of years doing a bit of work here and there – lawn mowing, garden clean ups and odd jobs – he loved the work, but there was nothing long term. He’s now been unemployed for three years.

Tom now thinks he's found his path – he would love to work in the gardens at Kings Park but he's got no idea how to make it happen or if it's even possible.

Anita, 27, has always lived in the suburbs of Perth. She left school part way through year 11. She has two young kids and has been at home with them for the past 10 years, but they're now both in full time school.

Anita loves art and she’s been doing portraits of friends in her spare time. She’s also made posters for her kids’ school and her partner’s footy club, and recently designed a logo for her friend’s business. She’s very involved with a local community arts program.

Anita would love to start a career in graphic design.

Tony, 35, grew up in Kalgoorlie but left school at the end of year 10 and moved to Perth at age 16. After two years of casual employment and work experience,  he started an automotive mechanic’s apprenticeship. He completed that when he was 21 and then worked in Perth for three years.

At 25, he went back out to the Goldfields to a job servicing heavy vehicles on a mine site and found he really loved this kind of work.

After 10 years working on mine sites he's decided to move back to the city, so now Tony is looking for a similar job in Perth but a lot has changed while he's been away.

What’s out there?

Getting to know what’s out there in the working world is another important part of choosing and planning your path. It involves learning about the many different industries, areas of employment and occupations, as well as the working conditions and employment prospects each might offer.


Take a look at this vid​​eo to hear the stories of how five Aboriginal people chose their path, found what's out there and got to where they are now.  

​Finding what's out there

Maya and Tony have chosen their path, but they need to find out more about what’s out there before they can take the next step. Use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow and see how they went about it.

Maya's been thinking about the local issues she cares most about, and which organisations are involved in supporting these causes – she figures one of those might be a good place to work. She finds out that while there are many organisations doing great work, one is involved with all the issues she cares about – her local council. She phones them to see who she can talk to about getting a job there.

Maya speaks to the human resources (HR) department and learns that she could begin as a junior then work up to a more senior role, with a focus on local conservation and environmental management.

So Maya’s next step on her career path is to look for entry-level jobs with her local council.

Tony starts to do some research into jobs in Perth. He needs to find out where diesel mechanics are employed and whether there’s much work available. He’d really like to keep working with heavy vehicles like excavators, graders and dozers if he can, but realises these might not be used as much in Perth as they are on mine sites.

Tony talks to a couple of the larger transport companies and someone from an employment agency. They all tell him the same thing – there is work for experienced mechanics, but more with landscaping equipment or heavy trucks and buses rather than the vehicles he's used to. They also said he may have to start as a ​casual to gain some experience with this type of equipment before he'll be able to get a full time job.

Tony is a bit disappointed to hear all this, but knows it’s a move he has to make.​


Hopefully the information on this page has helped you. If you’re ready to move on, check out the next part of this jobseekers section – Skill up – what it means and why you might choose to do it.


​How we can help

Choosing your path can be fun, scary or exciting, confusing or simple, or all of these things! We can work with you to help choose your path, figure out what's out there, and get you started on the jobseeking journey.

Talk to us about how we can help you reach your goals.

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More info – choosing a path: career planning

These websites contain information about career planning that may help you learn more about yourself and your path.

Jobs and Skills WA – Career exploration

Australia’s Careers Online – choosing a career

Youth Central – planning your career

More info – what's out there: occupations, jobs, careers

These websites contain information about industries, jobs and working conditions. Check them out to find out more about what’s out there.

Jobs and Skills WA – Career exploration 

Job Outlook – Make your career a reality

Youth Central – career profiles

Australia’s Careers Online – obs, career training and employment website directory

SkillsOne TV

Rural Skills Australia – rural career guide