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What steps did you take to get to where you are today in your career?

#career #career-choice

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Subject: Career question for you

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Valerie’s Answer

This is a great question. Many of us don't have a direct path, but if we analyze our skills, we'll see there are key traits that are present regardless of the position we are in. I was a straight A student and loved academics. I joined the military to be a linguist and get money for college and ended up finding my more physical skills. After college I took the first job that could help me pay my bills, which was in the financial arena. Then I went to an Internal Audit role and now Anti-Money Laundering Compliance. I think a thirst for learning, an ability to see what others miss or ignore, and a sense of humor helped me take on roles that weren't "expected" of me. Early experiences of being uncomfortable (an maybe even a little terrified) helped me know my own strength and that I can apply those skills to any task I have and get through those uncomfortable moments of taking on things I don't really know. I suggest you look at some events in your life where you felt really successful (like a fist-pump moment and not necessarily where someone else would think it is a big deal, but where you are proud of what you accomplished). Then think about the skills that you feel made you successful in each of those endeavors. Likely, you'll find some commonalities even if the items are really different. These are the skills that you will tap into regardless of the path you start on. And likely will lead to some changes in direction. Many of us have a winding path, which can be really fulfilling when you are working to learn as much as you can and do a great job, rather than only looking beyond to where it may lead. Knowing yourself and your strengths will help you embrace new experiences and find the right track.

Good luck!
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Nicole’s Answer

Howdy!

I have a non-traditional career path, which is likely more common than most people think. I personally had to work through college to support myself, so it took me a little longer than my peers to finish. By the end, I was focusing on supporting myself and moving up at my existing job than trying to find a job relevant to my education. I also graduated shortly after a big recession, so the "real world" was scary and hard for a lot of my peers.

I chose to find more modest roles that gave me things that were important to me: work-life balance, challenging projects, and a good team culture. I continued to increase skills and became what I would consider to be a generalist (proficient in management, operations, engagement, etc.).

Eventually, I was giving an opportunity from my network to interview for a world-renowned technology company. I've been here for about nine years now, and my generalist experience helped me to grow within the company in a variety of departments and roles.

Long story short, not everyone's career journey is linear, and that's ok. The experience you gain along the way is still valid and useful. Give yourself grace and enjoy the process. Good luck!
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Bharathi’s Answer

Hi,

I would like to give my answer here ..

I joined college without knowing about Engineering. I didnt have an idea about the courses except civil and CSE and mechanical. But I took ECE with guidance from my 12th class teacher Mr.Mandrachalam. Then I finished my 4 years of graduation , during college I did CCNA course in local computer center. But I didn't know how to get a job . I used to walk around Tech parks and I gave my resumes to the companies ,also applied in naukri. never got a call. By the time I started to learn Dotnet by joining local computer center again. Also I worked in small company with less pay which is not related to my education. also went for part time job to manage room rents and food . Suddenly one day while giving my resume to the small company , MD , Mr.Shanmuga sundaram gave me an option to work without pay for some time. They will recruit if my performance good. I accepted and started to coming office. after some discussions and within two weeks I got permanent job as dot net application developer . This is the biggest turning point for me and my family . all my credits and my thanks to Mr.Shanmuga sundaram , Managing Director of Jeevan infotech, Coimbatore. Then I changed few companied and few locations to learn more and more . Now I'm satisfied with my job and pay.
This journey was really challenging for me as I'm from village without any support . nowadays its easy to get a job and travel . I would like to thank everyone who supported me when I was having nothing . May be I'm not in the top position right now, but I feel this is very good position for me . :)
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Sara’s Answer

I love this question because everyone's paths are very unique. I started my career with a cold-email to a large hospitality company. I didn't hear back from said person but did hear from someone in the company about 4 months later because my resume had been sent to them. I was in that role for about 1 year before realizing I wanted to learn more about the sales industry so I pivoted. I landed that role by using LinkedIn and connecting with people in the industry. In both of these roles I learned how important a good Manager truly is. They need to be willing to train you, have your back, be direct with communication etc. After two large corporate companies I wanted to try something different and risky while I was still young with not much to lose. I ended up working at that start-up for 4 years, in Marketing, and learned much more than I could've imagined.

My advice is follow your gut and always be networking - even when you're not looking for your next role. Good luck!


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Jonathan’s Answer

Hi Anna,

During college I co-oped which is a program of alternating work/school semesters until (3) work semesters have been completed. This gave me a preview of what was to come when I got into my field and also a possible foot in the door. I didn't probe the engineers as much as I should have, but some did offer information. At that time I didn't even know what to ask so asking a general question like you did can be a good start.

Towards the end of my undergraduate, I didn't have a job lined up. Thankfully a professor advertised a paid graduate school position so I applied and got it. I had to take the GRE and get reference letters, but this opened up a different path than what I had planned. This led to me learning more and meeting people who changed the course of my life.

When I graduated, I still didn't have a job and the interviews I had throughout that year didn't result in positions I wanted. I took on a number of general labor jobs as I searched for a job in my field and met several different people and saw a different side to life. It was a humbling experience and it prepared me for the design job in manufacturing I was offered. The industry I got into was different from what I had learned so i relied on my coworkers to help catch me up and in turn I helped them. I can elaborate on any part of this, but these are the experiences that stuck out to me.

TL;DR: Do what you say you're going to do and be consistent. Treat people with the respect you would like to be treated with even if they may not show it to you. Don't be discouraged when a door closes. Think of what you're being shown and what other possibilities are out there.
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Donna’s Answer

Anna;

I was all over the place. I was an average student in high school and hated all the reading and studying. So I went straight to work out of High School.

My first job was at a Ceramic Tile factory. I quickly learned that standing on an assembly line was not for me. I worked there 1 1/2 years. Then I got a job at a department store. I quickly moved from sales to department manager. In two years I had been department manager for Jewelry, Teen Clothing, Womens Career Clothing, and Households. During this time I was going to college part time taking computer programing classes. (Hated it) Then I transferred to a larger store and tried to live on my own. Soon found out this job could barely pay rent let alone provide food and fun.

Ran into a recruiter one night and decided to go into the Navy. My ASVAB score was high and I chose a career working with computers and communication. My Navy title was Cryptologic Technician Maintenance. I had to enlist for 5 years because the 1st year was training. Here is where I discovered I was a kinesthetic learner, but even then I struggled with the self confidence. I had an instructor, who said, "You can do this your ASVAB wouldn't have qualified you if you couldn't. We will be here all night until you get it." You see that is how the military is. Had I not caught on to the specific accelerated curriculum, my class would move to the next subject without me and I would have been repeating that specific class until I got a passing grade. I spent 10 years in the Military.

Upon leaving the Military, I acquired a position with a major Telecommunications company as an engineer. After a couple years I took a management position and as a requirement I had 2 years to acquire a Bachelors degree. Digging up my old transcripts and getting credit for real life experience in the Military, I obtained a Bachelors Degree from University of Phoenix. Again not a traditional college, your grades are determined via study and testing but also team work. As an entire curriculum is condensed into a 5 or 6 week Hybrid Learning session.

My advice to students now: If you don't know what type of learner you are. (see below link). This will help you decide if you should go to a traditional college or maybe a technical college would be a better fit. If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, try the military. If nothing else you learn how to be independent and take responsibility for your own actions. As a plus you may learn a career skill also.
Hope this was helpful.

Donna recommends the following next steps:

http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml
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