Since a person’s career is a very personal choice and reflects his or her personality, creativity, interests, and goals, it is sometimes beneficial if one begins by choosing a career path, instead of a career.

Often career counselors conduct career pathing sessions with their clients to assist in matching innate skills and abilities with short and long-term goals. For example, if a person demonstrates an interest in the field of biology and also enjoys dealing with people, the following is an example of a sample career path he or she might consider: If the person wanted to enter the workforce immediately upon graduating from college, he or she may explore the areas of pharmaceutical or medical sales, working for a medical or scientific publishing company in which there are research, copywriting, or editing positions, or he/she may seek an alternate route as a biology teacher. All of these positions would serve as rungs on his/her career ladder.

As the person continues to climb the ladder to a successful career, the prospect of additional promotions within or outside his company, continued educational opportunities, and the eventual possibility of starting his or her own business are also career pathing options.

Now, for another scenario. If the same person who demonstrated an interest in biology decides to become a medical doctor or research biologist immediately after graduation, that person will need to obtain an advanced degree in order to complete his or her chosen career path. After the required post graduate education is completed, there are a number of options within the specialty for the person to climb the ladder of success. He or she can go into private practice as a physician, become a senior research biologist, a professional manager within a research or scientific environment, or work for a state or federal government. These are only a few examples of career pathing. With the help of a career counselor, one can explore many more career paths.

The career counselor often talks with the person at length to explore the subjects the individual liked in school, what he or she considers to be personal strengths and abilities, as well as what other people have said through evaluations at work or volunteer activities. The counselor will ask about the person’s daydreams, his or her ideal job, and aspirations. Clients often feel that the time spent with the counselor leads to more insight and investigation regarding several possible career paths.

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