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Steps in Choosing a Career

Choosing a career path is never an easy task. Most people change careers approximately seven times in their lifetime, so there is a lot of evaluation and re-evaluation that needs to be done periodically.

You always want to make informed choices based on a good understanding of yourself as well as what is available to you. Research needs to be done on the different occupations available by looking at job descriptions, talking to mentors, people within your network, as well as other professionals in the field. You'll need to decide on your priorities and the lifestyle you want to choose the work that fits your personal needs as well as your skills and interests.

The first step is to know yourself. Answer these two questions: What do you do well? What do you enjoy doing? This will help you identify your strengths.

Ultimately, you want to have a balance between your lifestyle and your career plans. When evaluating yourself, make sure you've included everything that might be useful in you choice.

More than likely, you've got a variety of careers to choose from that may be right for you. It's important to look at all the possibilities before making your decision. There are many different personal interest groups that you can look into and ask yourself how much you'd like that type of work. The list of interest groups follows.

Artistic & CreativeClerical & Administrative
Figures & ComputationalHelping and Community Services
Influencing & Personal ContactLiterary
MedicalOutdoor
Practical & ManualScientific
Technical & Engineering 

While looking at these interest groups, list them under what you'd like and what you'd like a lot. The next step is looking at jobs, and job descriptions, and eliminating those that you're not interested in. What you should end up with is a list of jobs that you'd like to explore further.

Asking a mentor, people within your network, as well as other professionals in the field to understand realistically how achievable your goals are and to work towards them. Once you have a list of jobs you are interested in, ask yourself some of the questions below to help you decide on what you'd like to do: - Do I have the education required? Do I need more schooling? Do I want to go back to school? - Can I see myself doing all the tasks involved in this occupation? Would I be happy doing it? - Does the career satisfy my needs? Are there good opportunities for the future? - Do I like my co-workers? My manager? The type of supervision involved? All of these items together (your self-assessment, the type of occupations you've chosen, as well as the research you've done to help achieve your goals) should help you narrow the path to follow to get into the field of your choice.