Entering the workforce is often difficult, even for those who don’t have disabilities. Finding and pursuing a career presents a big challenge for everyone. But it is a challenge that you can meet with the right tools and assistance. There are steps that you can take to make finding a career more manageable.

Whether you are planning for your first career or searching for a new focus around which to organize your work life, it is important to pursue a career that will help you meet your financial needs, that you will be able to do well, and that will be satisfying to you. When you begin planning for a new career, your ultimate goal may seem far off. But keeping your long-term goals in mind will help you figure out what steps to take right now. You might need education or training. Maybe you just want to test out a job in the field you are considering to see if you enjoy it. No matter where you are, this article aims to help you get started.

The first thing you should do when beginning a career search is to think carefully about yourself. What are the things you are most interested in? What are your strongest skills and talents and which of them do you enjoy using the most? There are many self-discovery tools that you can use to help you gain insight into the types of careers you might enjoy most, but having work experiences may be the best way to help you choose a career direction.

Once you have a career in mind, there are a range of experiences you can use to test and expand your interest in your career goal. Apprenticeships, internships, informational interviews with employers, and volunteering are all common ways to gain understanding and experience in a new field. Once you decide on an occupational goal, there may be a variety of ways you can work, including regular employment, customized employment, self-employment, and working from home. Some of these options may be accommodations to your disability or they may be available to anyone who works in that particular field.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the various forms of assistance that are available to help you find the training and education you need, the job you want, or the resources you need to help you do your work. Within the workplace, you are entitled to reasonable accommodation — changes in the work environment or in the way things are usually done — that will give you an equal opportunity to perform your work.