One of the biggest questions graduating students ask themselves is: “How do I know which career is right for me?”
At the outset, the answer to this question seems pretty simple. You know what your core skills and interests are. You probably have a sense of what you’d like to learn from a role, and what kind of work environment would be right for you. Furthermore, your education has given you an area of expertise. All of these factors should indicate your dream job instantly… right?
For most students, finding your career fit isn’t that easy. Not all areas of study lead directly to a specific career option, and you may graduate not knowing exactly where to go. While this uncertainty can be nerve-wracking, it will actually help you become a stronger professional. It will encourage you to explore your options and understand the incredible range of skills that you bring to the table, some of which you might not even know you have! Moreover, you’ll be able to explore a wider range of career options than you ever thought possible. In these ways, the uncertainty that every new graduate faces can actually help you find your ideal career fit.
For two Reynolds and Reynolds employees, this scenario is all too familiar. But instead of being discouraged, they viewed uncertainty as an opportunity to get to know themselves, explore all of their career options, and find an employer that helped match them to a role that could lead to a lifelong career.
Jessie has found her ideal career fit as a member of the Software Implementation team at Reynolds and Reynolds. As a Software Implementation Specialist, she travels all over Canada to car dealerships and trains their personnel how to use Reynolds’ software. She also provides virtual support after their initial training session to make sure that operations run smoothly.
Jessie is communicative, organized, detail-oriented, and loves to travel, all of which are skills that fit with her current role. Yet when she graduated in 2012 with a degree in Biochemistry, a career in Software Implementation wasn’t even on her radar.
When she was first considering her career options, Jessie faced some uncertainty. She knew she wanted to put her degree to good use but wasn’t sure that working by herself in a lab would be the right environment for her personality.
To find out what career would be the right fit for her skills, Jessie spoke with several career counsellors (a smart move for any new graduate). In doing so, Jessie realized her past jobs had all entailed training people and developing strong teams. This in-depth examination of her unique abilities got her on track to finding her career fit because it opened up a number of job options she hadn’t considered.
With this skill set in mind, Jessie applied to a Sales Support role at Reynolds. The recruiter at Reynolds helped Jessie explore her options and find jobs that could fit her skills. After an informal conversation, they figured out that Jessie’s personality was better suited to a role in Software Implementation.
“The Reynolds recruiting team was phenomenal in helping me find my career fit,” says Jessie.
“It really helps that the recruiters understand what each job entails and know which personalities excel in those roles.”
After some soul-searching and exploring different options, Jessie found her career fit and was on her way to professional success. Reynolds helps new employees develop their skills right away. New hires in Software Implementation are given an extensive manual outlining their positions. They also travel to Dayton, Ohio for training and feedback. Jessie and her peers also receive performance reviews to report on their progress and help them set professional goals.
The company culture at Reynolds also helped Jessie become comfortable in her new role. Reynolds sends company-wide and locations-specific communications to help ensure employees are on the same page. Plus, each Canadian office has a social committee that plans monthly bonding events to help strengthen the team. The open-plan office at Reynolds in Mississauga has helped Jessie get to know her co-workers, and she has benefited from her mentors who share insights from their experiences.
“I have met all but one of my teammates in 11 months of working at Reynolds but I could call any of them without qualm. That shows how well you can get to know people, even if they work in different locations.”
Today, Jessie is learning something new every day, which is helping her excel in her career. Working with different people across Canada and the United States has deepened her knowledge of what she does and has expanded her personal network. One day she hopes to take on a Manager role with Reynolds, and is excited to see what her future with the company holds.
Jessie is a great example of how uncertainty can turn into an opportunity to find your ideal career fit! Take a look at her 3 tips for new graduates considering a job with Reynolds.
2) Put your cell phone down and focus on the task at hand! You’ll want to direct all your energy toward your work and not be distracted by technology.
3) You’ll make many professional and personal connections at Reynolds, especially if your work crosses borders nationally and provincially. Be open to meeting new people and growing your network. And have fun!
Dean Hergenhein is also a Software Implementation Specialist. Although his educational background is completely different from Jessie’s, his skill sets also fit well with the role.
To deal with his own post-graduate uncertainty, Dean started a broad job search. He also identified the core abilities he could bring to a company: problem-solving skills, patience and understanding, and an outgoing personality.
When he found the Software Implementation Specialist role at Reynolds, he knew he’d found the place for him; the role combined skills he had gained through previous work experience, included travel, and incorporated his love of cars and the automotive industry.
In his job, Dean works closely with other employees and receives mentorship and support from them. These aspects of his job, as well as attending social events like dinners and Blue Jays games, helped him bond with his team.
“The support I receive at Reynolds and Reynolds is outstanding, and it makes you feel like a member of the family,” he says.
For Dean, every workday is different. Sometimes he travels to different locations, and other times he works from home. No matter what scenario he encounters, he uses his core skills to multitask and think on his feet.
Dean has also benefitted from the professional development opportunities Reynolds provides its employees. When he’s helping clients to set up their software, Dean works with the Distance Learning Centre department, whose team members team him new details about Reynolds’ software. Moreover, the company offers a number of certifications on the company’s software to help encourage employees to improve their skills.
“As you learn more areas of Reynolds’ software, you’re likely to be given more responsibilities and duties,” says Dean, “which in turn will help you understand more about your work and gain new skills.”
As part of his ongoing career development, Dean is now a mentor to new hires, teaching them to use the software in the same way his mentors helped him. Being a mentor has helped him expand his professional network and make new friends. This leadership experience has sparked his aspiration to attain a managerial role with Reynolds.
After some initial uncertainty, Dean found the potential for a lifelong career with a company that offers significant growth opportunities.
2. Show your willingness to learn. Learn about the company’s software and the automotive industry. You’ll have to pass your knowledge on to clients confidently, so be sure you know your stuff!
3. Be relaxed and accommodating. When you are assisting clients on-site, they are your focus. Give them the attention they deserve.
Reynolds and Reynolds develops its employees professionally and personally, as part of the company’s ongoing success. If you’re a new graduate struggling with your next steps, remember that uncertainty can lead to opportunity. Follow those opportunities to find a career that is the right fit and that you enjoy.