Assess YourselfBefore you can make a career choice you have to learn about yourself. Your values, interests, and skills, in combination with certain personality traits, will make some careers especially suitable for you and some particulary inapproprate. You can use self assessment tools, often called career tests, to gather this information and, subsequently, to generate a list of occupations that are deemed appropriate. Some people choose to have career counselors or other career development professionals administer these tests but many opt to use free career tests that are available on the Web.
Make a List of Occupations to ExploreLook over the lists of occupations generated through your use of the self assessment tools. They are probably rather lengthy. You want to come up with a much shorter list, consisting of between five and ten occupations. Circle occupations that appear on multiple lists. Circle occupations you may have considered previously and that you find appealing. Write these occupations down on a separate list titled "Occupations to Explore."
Explore the Occupations on Your ListFor each occupation on your list, you will want to look at the job description , educational and other requirements, job outlook, advancement opportunities, and earnings.
Conduct Informational InterviewsAt this p oint you should only have a few occupations left on your list. You now need to gather more in-depth information. Your best source of this information are people who have firsthand knowledge of the occupations in which you are interested. Identify who they are and conduct informational interviews with them.
Continue Narrowing Down your ListPare down your list of possible occupations based on what you learned from your research. For example, you may not be willing to put the time and energy into preparing for an occupation for which an advanced degree is required, or you may consider the earnings for a particular occupation inadequate.
Set Your Goals
By now you should have decided on one occupation you want to pursue. It's time to put a plan in place so you can eventually find a job in that field, but first you will need to set some goals.