Finding a career can be daunting, but don’t dwell on that thought. Here’s a few ways to take action. It’s okay (and sometimes recommended) to use the experience of looking for your first job to help you decide which career is right for you!
It doesn’t have to be a fancy event or some overly strategic call. When I was looking for my first job to launch a career post undergrad, I got a list of everyone who had graduated with a similar degree from my college near my geographic location and started calling. You can learn so much very quickly from talking to folks in a variety of different professions. I learned at the time a pharmaceutical sales career wouldn’t be for me based on one of these conversations. You’ll be surprised how much people like talking about themselves when you’re genuinely interested. Beyond that, most folks have walked in similar shoes and are eager to pay it forward!
2) Apply for jobs (but do research!)
I would certainly apply for jobs but I think it’s more akin to playing the lottery these days. In other words, it could work, but I wouldn’t have it be my only strategy. I’d prefer to find companies I want to work at or find jobs that look attractive and find folks in that organization to speak with. Call them, message them on LinkedIn, email them. This is a situation where you shouldn’t be worried about rejection!
3) Use a recruiter
Not just because I’m in the profession but I also realize how much value we bring to prospective job seekers. We know inside information regarding which companies people like to work at and why, how they pay relative to their peers in the marketplace, etc. Even if you aren’t placed by a recruiter, having a relationship with one is vital. They are someone you can bounce ideas off as you move through an interview process. The best recruiters play the long game and are happy to help whether or not immediate dividends payoff!
This theme applies to the three points above. It’s common to stall and overthink where you want to work, or what type of profession you want. But remember you won’t know unless you experience it. Talking to people that do it currently or can share their experience, or best of all if you can test the experience, will be the only way to truly decide. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”
Bonus tip: Be Humble, be employable.
Skills matter, and you should get them. Take an internship. Don’t get overly worried about your starting salary, title, etc. Ego is detrimental at this stage. Be selfish about gaining skills and determining the right career for you, not what your peers will think.
Mark Agostinelli is regional vice president for recruiting firm The DAVIS Cos. in Marlborough, Mass.