You just finished writing your final exam, completed your year-end class assignments, and logged out of your zoom lecture for the last time. Now what?
When you watch your peers celebrate their career plans on social media, it is easy to become isolated, envious and more common than it seems to begin comparing their accomplishments with your own circumstances. Despite working as hard as your classmates, you might not have everything figured out, so it is reasonable to feel lost. Surprisingly, graduating without a plan is not as uncommon as you may think, and there are also some perks that come with it.
Here are some tips to help find the right career path for you:
Rest and Evaluate
In the chaos of daily life, we often forget that free time is a gift not frequently given. As a result, it is important to set aside time to breathe, figure out what you want, and carefully plan the next steps that will propel you forwards toward a successful career.
Building an exciting and purpose-driven career path is best achieved with a clear mind, rather than a rushed one. Rather than furiously scrambling to plan out your future just like your peers, devote some time toward your hobbies and activities that are important to you instead. For example, reconnect with your old friends, exercise and set up a workout plan, and spend some time reading a good book. Ensuring you have time to set aside for yourself will encourage and enable you to feel more confident about thinking of the future of your career once the time comes.
Once you feel focused, evaluate your life and the variables that affect your career choices. For instance, be sure to consider your financial situation, home and family responsibilities, and what you have learned about yourself during the time you took off.
Ask Yourself These Important Questions
Now that you have a better idea of your interests and skills, it’s time to plan for action. One way to do this is with the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?
- Who do/should I need to connect with to help me find a career I enjoy?
- Who could I connect with in my current network to help me kickstart my career in my field of interest?
- What kind/type of career field aligns with my priorities?
- What career steps towards different fields sound exciting to take, and which ones feel exhausting?
- What steps can I take to improve my skills and knowledge in this field?
- Where will I have to travel for my job? Is working remotely an option?
- Where do I see myself five years from now once I start in this field?
- Can I work from home?
- Do I have to move for this career?
- Is there another city that offers more opportunities in this field?
- When are my deadlines if I need to continue my education or apply for internships?
- How long will it take me to qualify for this career?
- Why am I interested in this field?
- Why did I choose this field instead of a different field?
- How can I use my experience and skillset to help stand out and become more competitive than the other candidates?
- How do I assemble a portfolio or register for a certification/exam I need to take?
From The Answers to the Above Questions Create An Action Plan to Help You Set Process-Based Goals
Once you have created a basic list of answers to the previous questions, you utilize these answers to help you create process-based goals instead of outcome-based goals. To summarize what this means, an outcome-based goal is a large and singular goal that you typically work towards achieving, such as winning a gold medal or securing a full-time job upon graduation. Contrastingly, process-based goals are based on specific tasks and actions that ultimately help you achieve your long-term, outcome-based goal. An example of how the two goals go hand-in-hand is aiming to study for 2 hours a day (process) in order to finish with an A+ in the course (outcome).
Rather than telling yourself, you will get a job in a specific sector, you can instead determine how many people you plan to network with each week, how many certifications you will complete by the end of the month and how many jobs you have applied to each day. Drawing out thoughtful steps to reach your goals can make you feel more productive and motivate you to take the steps needed to achieve them.
Shift Your Perspective
Not knowing how to find your way into the workforce is not an issue. The problem arises when the mindset of, “I have no idea what I want to do with my life”, is more common than, “I have no idea which field I want to work in”.
You can achieve rewarding and fulfilling work in any role, so you deserve to free yourself of the expectation that your life equates to just another employee number.
As you begin to navigate your career path, be sure to remind yourself that you are not alone if you do not know your next move. Your intelligence and hard work will guide you, and that will help you end up in the right place. So, strut down your staircase in your living room graduation best, wave your fake diploma in the air, and turn that tassel with pride- you’ve earned it!