I think you first need to ask yourself questions like: What do you enjoy doing? What do other people say you are good at? What are you good at? What do you think you have to offer the world or just other people? You might also ask your friends or family what you are good at. They might point to positive ways you relate to people. Or activities you are good at such as things you do with your hands or the way you analyze problems.
I highly recommend the book, "What Color is Your Parachute." It is a classic in the job hunting field. If you are not already familiar with it, the book leads you through a series of fun exercises you do over a few days or even weeks to help you identify where your talents and interests lie. Once you get a better idea of what you want to do, the book helps you market yourself to employers.
Tom recommends the following next steps:
Linkedin truly is a great place to find jobs as well as trying to network with as many people as possible. I, myself have had great luck with attending job fairs that my school was throwing where I got the opportunity to network with many different people and different companies. Indeed is also a great job searching site - I have had several replies from Indeed in the past. Also, don't be afraid to use google from time to time. Sometimes job postings become available straight from the company's site before hitting the job searching websites.
Good luck on your search!
It looks like you are a college grad, so perhaps you have an alumni network already built you could access? If you didn't build your own network, does the University offer Alumni networking opportunities? Are there any local young professional groups where you could attend a meeting?
Having a strong personal network will always help open the door to new opportunities, or get your foot in the door someplace and separate you from the sea of faceless resumes.
This is a great question and I'm sure very relevant for lots of folks on here.
1. LOOK ON LINKEDIN and filter for school & 1st and 2nd connections. Message alumni from your school who are working in the jobs that you're looking at to schedule a coffee chat. More often than not, you'll hear back.
2. RE-FRAME THE PROBLEM - what is making you hesitate on finding a job? Instead of a "career" is there a company you've always dreamed of working at? What are you good at versus what are you interested in? What skills have you developed over the years?
- When I graduated college, I got some advice from one of my professors that still sticks with me today: "The first job I had out of college was probably the LEAST important decision I've made in my life." In the grand scheme of things, trying to find the "perfect" job for you straight out of college is at best, optimistic, and at worst, mentally harmful/pigeonholing yourself into a career that you may or may not enjoy.
- So, pick a path! Even if you're not sure, even if you're afraid of making the right decision - pick one and dive headfirst into it and enjoy the ride.
It's a confusing, but most importantly, exciting part of your life. Good luck :-)
It's great that you have a forum like this to get so many diverse opinions on the subject.
I would try different things in school to see that things you are most interested in. I found over my career that I often did well with pay and promotions when I was passionate about the things I was working on.
I started out in college as pre-med. After my first semester, I realized it wasn't for me so I started taking a bunch of different electives. One of my dormmates told me about a computer science course he just took so I signed up for it next semester and fell in love with it. I immediately switched my major and finished just 3 years later!
I did well and had several execllent offers to choose from. For a long time, I was happy and remained extremely passionate about the work. Then as often happens successful people are promoted and eventually become managers. I wasn't as happy managing people instead of doing the work so I looked around for other things that might be interesting but still as the same level.
Many of those career changes took me down different paths. Some I enjoyed and some I didnt. But, I kept an open mind and realized nothing is permanent. I switched jobs, companies and industries. Eventually, I gravitated back to a position that allowed me to blend everything I learned throughout that journey to a position I completely enjoy now.
The other thing I learned is my employers had very good tuition reimbursement programs that allowed me to continue my education and obtain advanced degrees.
One final thought. Networking, that is talking to people who know people you can talk to, who know more peopled you can talk to was invaluable to me in learning about different career options as well as helping to find the next position. Become comfortable with networking. Ask questions. Ask how you can assist the folks you are talking do. Don't be afraid about not being able to assist. You'll be surprised what you learn along your networking journey that might help someone you talked to already.
Use the search engines plugging in the keywords that you like (maybe it's math, or science, or cooking) to see what the jobs entail. Keep an open mind. Try different things. Establish a mindset of life long learning. You can and will continually re-invent your self and your first career certainly won't be your last!
Enjoy the journey!
Best wishes with your Future Endeavors!
There are skills assessments and personality profiles online that you can try ; some free or low-cost. Speak to a careers adviser. Most importantly, keep building your skills, and enhancing those key qualities which are needed in every job : teamworking, showing initiative, timekeeping, communications...
I would recommend checking into an internship with a company that interests you. This is an excellent way to get a first hand look at various jobs in the field. Once you become an intern you are free to learn about the various opportunities. Most companies are happy to let you shadow a person or department for a couple of hours to learn about what they do. This also gives you a chance to learn about the teams various career paths.
Some good info here around job search and finding jobs, but I'll focus on "figuring out a career path".
My approach is building a career path has been to work with my team members and figure out where their skills, interests, personality overlap.
There's a number of jobs you can do given one's background, let's say 15 technically inclined jobs at a software company. Of that group, you can tighten it up to a smaller set when you blend in how they line up with your interests and personality, say 7-8 that require interaction with customers and team members. From that group, we can further narrow them down when you look at the jobs beyond those immediate ones, for example you want to work towards product management or similar higher level roles. Now the 2-3 jobs that're being considered are the basis of a career path, as they're likely similar in nature and require like skills.
The approach I have when I work with my team members to figure these things come from discussions around what YOU LIKE TO DO, WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE TO DO, and WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT. I don't mention "What you're NOT good at" because these are skills that can be upgraded or improved.
- WHAT YOU LIKE/DON'T LIKE TO DO: these are more personality based, for example "you're highly detailed oriented and can't stand disorganization" (vs. figuring out unstructured problems), or "you love to interact with people and work on a team" (vs. working by yourself and figuring out detailed problems). These are fundamental to how you'll approach work as they are more part of your core personality.
- WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT: these are more job related and skills based, like "working with massive amounts of information and making sense of it for others", or "presenting complex information to people in a simple manor".
Blending your personality and interests with your professional skill set is a great way to form that career path. It also allows you to find the roles that maximize your growth and your future potential.
Terence recommends the following next steps:
However it depends on where you are in your life. I'll assume you've studied for your communications degree and so now you're looking at the world and saying ....what does this Diploma translate into for a role I can have in an office or elsewhere. Remember most Degree's do not specifically align with a job. Many jobs require you to learn skills outside of the Diploma.
You can help yourself by narrowing down the focus. Start with deciding what environment you want to be in -- Large Corporate office? mid-sized privately owned company? Or would you want to be a consultant with multiple clients that you help enable to spread a message (Ad agency / brand consultant) which could be anywhere on the spectrum. You could also work with the government (Federal, State, County). You'll also want to think about where physically (City? Suburbs?)
If you work in a corporate office you'll have a more regular schedule typically working with the same colleagues and maybe some external consultants. If you are a consultant you'll work with a variety of clients and internal team members.
Once you've narrowed down some of these qualitative factors then you can go to those websites and think about which of these job offerings met your needs. I suggest applying to many places and interviewing at as many companies as possible. You will find that each has a different way of operating and communicating with you and you will clearly dislike some and hopefully really like one.
Once you have the job you make a career by slowly building credibility in your network of connections and in the skills you bring to the table. Every project you work on will be a credential you take with you that evidences to future employers of what you bring to the table.
Start with the Job (any job) and if you continue with it, commit to it, and build on it you will suddenly have a career - which is just the long arc of you working life.
Cheers and good luck