Finding your dream job is no easy feat. Like any great pursuit, it requires planning, commitment and sometimes, a bit of encouragement.

But do not – repeat, do not – allow yourself to be disheartened out of the challenge. It is manageable and depending on your approach, hugely rewarding.

Presenting a series of steps that can help you narrow your interests and increase your chances of discovering a best-fit career.

  1. Take a career assessment to learn about your strengths
Choosing a job, company, or career path can feel exceedingly overwhelming. And rightly so – the decided fate of how you’ll likely spend the next few years of your life is nothing to take lightly. So how exactly can you ensure that you make the right – or at least not wrong – decision? Find out where your strengths lie and how they can lead you to success. Companies like Self-Directed Search ($9.95), MyPlan.com ($19.95) and pymetrics (free) are using assessments and games to help people find optimal career paths by analyzing their strengths. Take advantage of these great resources: recognizing your areas of greatest potential is often the first piece of the puzzle.
  1. Connect with people who have the job that you’re after
Things aren’t always as they seem. Even if there is certain career that is top of mind, make sure to do your due diligence. This means go beyond Google. Talk to people who do what you want to do and find out as much as you possible: the good, the bad and the ugly. You might be surprised at what you learn. Maybe you’re even better suited to the job of your dreams than you thought. Or perhaps not at all. Either way, you won’t know unless you have a basic understanding of what the job is actually like. LinkedIn (freemium) and AngelList (free) are both great tools for showcasing your skillset and interests; but also use them to find and connect with people who can give you the professional advice you’re seeking.
  1. Ask yourself if the role is for you
Who are you? Think about this – deeply – and ask yourself how the career you’re chasing relates. Are you seeking a job path that has meaning to your life? Ideally, yes. Your work should be a holistic reflection of you: your goals, interests, talents and values all ought to be taken into account. If you’re looking to work in banking, dwell on whether a career in finance is likely to not just make you happy, but also lead you towards your definition of success. If not, think about why that is and if there are other, more appropriate career paths worth exploring. No job is perfect; but some certainly make more sense for you than others.
  1. Consult your confidants
Fact: your Circle of Trust knows you better than you think they do. As such, don’t be afraid to ask the people closest to you what they think about your career aspirations. This could give you some much needed fresh perspective. With enough convincing, it’s easy for us to be possessed by our own beliefs – no matter how unfounded they may be. Talk and listen to people whose opinions you value. They may not always be right or say what you want to hear, but your crew usually has your best interests in mind and is not afraid to tell it like it is.
  1. Do what feels right
No one knows you like you know you – so ultimately, your career choices should rest in nobody’s hands but your own. Assessments help. As do mentors, friends and family. Use them for advice and direction but not a great deal more. Like you would with any other major life decisions: rely on your own judgment and do what feels right.

Farai PhotoFarai works in digital marketing and is the undisputed ping pong champion at pymetrics. He is a big fan of soccer, live music and complaining about the rest of the team's lunch choices.