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Choosing a career path can be difficult, but knowing your interests, being able to identify your skills, your strengths and weaknesses, having access to the right tools such as a career aptitude test and access to career mentorship and guidance can help you to make the right decision.

Here are five tips you can consider when choosing a career path:

What are your interests?
Being able to identify the things you are interested in can help you make the right career choice. Ask yourself questions such as: “What activities and subjects are you naturally interested in? What do you find yourself doing for very long hours and even odd hours of the day?” Generally, we tend to place more energy, spend more time on and perform better at the things that we love and are interested in. Individuals who pursue their career in the field or area of interest usually perform well on the job and excel in their chosen field.

What are your skills, what are you good at?
Identifying your skills and things you are good at can be very helpful when choosing a career path as it is often easier to perfect a skill that already exists. For example, if you identify writing as one of your skills, you could consider pursuing a career as a journalist, speechwriter, a researcher among others. This means that you should perform well in the area and provide the opportunity for you to grow and excel in the specific field.

Complete a Self-assessment
Self-assessment tools such as an aptitude test or career test can help you identify the career path that is most suitable for you as these tests usually gather information about your personality traits, interests, and values and then generate a list of possible careers that are most suitable for you based on your responses. Try to explore the suggested occupations listed on the career or aptitude test. Read and do further research where possible to learn more about each occupation and then narrow your list based on your preferences.

Create a Career Development Plan
Although it may sound technical, a career development plan can be a simple document detailing the career path that you want to take. It can be done in the form of a simple roadmap outlining the steps that you will take to achieve your chosen career goal. Having a career development plan helps to keep you focused on your career goal and reminds you of the steps that you will need to take to ensure that you achieve your goal and it becomes a reality.  The steps may include: the subjects you need to take at the high school level, the programme/course you will study at college or university, a list of potential colleges that you can apply for, possible scholarships and a list of places that you can do an internship or apply for a job.

Volunteer, do an internship and participate in workshops
One of the best ways to know if you really like a particular career and if it is the best fit for you is being able to work in the field within a company even for a short period of time. I experienced this years ago while completing my Internship at a hotel on the north coast while pursuing my degree in Food Service Management at a university. It was then that I discovered that I really did not want to work in a hotel, instead I was more interested in becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own restaurant or concessionaire & catering company. I am now doing the latter after conducting market research, participating in many business training and workshops and also it was the more realistic option. You can also explore the option of doing a summer or winter internship or volunteering a few hours per week with a company. Try to go on field trips, attend workshops or conferences in the area that you are interested in as it will give you more insight as to the roles and responsibilities that generally comes with a specific occupation and it will also give you the opportunity to network and speak with individuals who are already in the field.