Many students and grads ponder the question: is there a suitable career for me at the end of my degree? Will my skills fit the requirements of the positions out there?
While it may be anxiety-inducing to not know what your future may look like, you can control your fears and shift your outlook when it comes to job-hunting and planning your career path, one step at a time.
1. Know that your career path will not always be linear
Sometimes you need to go through a few jobs before you can clearly define the type of career you really want. Whether you’re a student looking for an internship in between study terms, or you’re a recent grad looking for your first real job, consider the opportunities some positions have to offer.
Do you want to learn how to develop project management skills in a fast-paced environment? Do you want to get better at leading others? Learning on the job is the best way of acquiring the skills you need for your long-term career goals. While it may not be directly relatable to what you initially had in mind, stay optimistic! The transferable skills you gain along the way will be invaluable. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up liking what you do!
2. Focus on the title, but focus more on the values
You’ll need some parameters when job searching, and narrowing down keywords in the job title is one of them. Further down the road, you might not know what your exact job title will be, but it’s more important to know what kind of company culture you enjoy working for. Do you prefer having a set 9-5 job or one with flexible hours? Does the workplace environment encourage habits you value, such as helping others or recycling?
As you navigate through your work experiences, think about what’s important to you. Do you have enough autonomy when taking on projects? Does your position allow for creativity, or is it mostly task-based? Most of all, does it fulfill you?
3. Reach out to the people you know
Having support is an important part of the job search process. Reconnect with your professors, past employers, people you volunteer with. These people are already in the industry and can provide resources, tips, and other contacts to network with. Let them know you are job searching.
Friends and family members are a great mental support during the process. Don’t isolate yourself if you’re struggling! Seek professional career help from your institution and stay active on what’s trending by keeping up with the news. Pair up with a fellow job seeker. You’ll be surprised, there are employers out there who are willing to create jobs for you. You just need to be patient and on the lookout for opportunities as they arise.
Hopefully these tips will help you stay focused with the job search process. Reflect on what you really seek in a job, rather than blindly applying for a huge pool of positions. Remember what they say: don’t work harder without working smart!