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Choosing a Career

Identify Who You Are: Your Skills
It is very important to know your likes, your abilities, and your interests before you can identify the right career for you. Most of us make the mistake of jumping onto the bandwagon of popular fields such as management or IT or lucrative options such as corporate law and financial management without analyzing our true potential. Your career is not only your means to a better life but also your means to happiness. An additional article, Which Careers Will be in Demand in the Future? for a look ahead to the up and coming professions.

Some of your skills will be apparent: your expertise with numbers or with words, or your ability to solve problems with panache. To identify other needs, you have the option of going to a career counselor or taking an online personality test such as the Stamford test, or doing a simple written exercise all on your own. The first two options are tested and standardized ways to help you match your interests to areas or courses of study.

The third option will give results only if you have been previously employed. List all the jobs you've worked at and then ask yourself pertinent questions such as what the most enjoyable part of the job was, what you could accomplish easily and quickly, the things you were praised and appreciated for and other such things. The answers to these questions will help you identify the areas that give you the greatest satisfaction and the skills and abilities that you have. You can also join clubs, groups, or social service organizations to find out what interests you.

Match Your Skills to the Perfect Career
It is time to create a plan of action. Try and find out all information, whether online or in print, which will give you facts on jobs, roles, and fields to suit your skills. Sites such as "The A to Z of Job Types" will give you an idea of the jobs that one is eligible for after completing a particular course of study.

Match Your Skills to the Perfect Career

Attending Career Weeks and Career Fairs are good ways to get information on a particular career that interests you. Accumulate on-the-job experience by opting for internships, summer jobs, part-time stints, or volunteering. Use online options such as "NYU CareerNet" to find out all about such on-the-job opportunities. Talk to everyone you know in related fields to get the inside story.

If you are already working, then a good way to enhance a specific skill is to request that management include you in projects that will help you better that skill. For example, if you have identified your people skills and want to enhance them, opt for projects that need networking, liaison, PR, etc.

How good is the Chosen Career? Salary, Growth, and Location
Careers that will be in demand in the future will mainly be in the sectors of healthcare, education, security, insurance, finance, IT, computer programming, creative arts, technical writing, law, childcare, transportation, and other service sectors. These are jobs that will not go "offshore" and will require creativity, skill, and proximity to the workplace. So, people with a high level of postsecondary education will find themselves in demand. They will command lucrative salaries, have tremendous growth potential and will probably be able to work within the country. The other group of people who will also have great career options will be the ones with technical and vocational training either from the various colleges across the country or from online universities, which enable learning at your convenience.

Time and Money Matters
Developing new skills, honing old ones, and changing careers to suit new interests take time and money. Though these should not be deterrents, it is also important to have an action plan that takes these factors into consideration.

How good is the Chosen Career? Salary, Growth, and Location

Time and Money Matters

To get more information on financial assistance visit:

StudentAid.ed.gov
FAFSA.ed.gov
EducationUSA.state.gov

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