This is a question you’re asked from the moment you start forming sentences. 🤔 Young children might say they want to be a firefighter, an astronaut, a footballer, an influencer, a YouTuber, or a teacher. Few express an interest in being a cloud computing administrator, a market research analyst, a compliance officer, or a quality assurance manager. Not surprising really. Even though there are millions of jobs, kids only know of the ones they encounter in their everyday lives. Interestingly, most job titles that were commonplace 20 years ago don’t even exist today!
So, even though you may be just starting out on your career, it’s not surprising that most new graduates have no idea what they want to be. Contrary to media influence, that’s perfectly fine. New Graduates often feel pressured to know exactly what industry and job role they want to go into before they have even graduated.They have had so little exposure to the possibilities. At best they might be familiar with the jobs their parents and relatives do, or those portrayed in movies or television. 🤷
In the not too distant future, you need to find a job to support yourself. One that not only pays to cover your costs but is sustainable. When we say sustainable, we aren’t even talking about the planet, we mean one that you can continue to do that has a degree of job satisfaction to inspire you to continue. Another fallacy we’re often told growing up is that all you need is money. When realistically, money is only a small part of job satisfaction and overall happiness. A role that makes you unhappy, will reflect heavily on your future and those around you. For more information about monetary motivation in the work place, check out our recent blog on the very subject.
Yes, times are hard, but your possibilities are endless and include options you have never even heard of. The opportunities of the future will depend in part on the planning put in today with tomorrow in mind.
So, what is this planning work?
- Talk 🗣️
Strike up conversations with anyone and everyone: teachers, tutors, parents, relatives, friends, and their parents. Explain your predicament, frustrations and concerns and ask how they got where they are, what they do and what strengths help them succeed. It is vital you create and expand your own network.
2. Question your own talents 🙋
As with the subjects you enjoyed and excelled in at in school, you need to delve deeper. Was it the topic, the teacher, your classmates, the work style, or all them or other things that brought these subjects to mind?
To be fulfilled and happy many things need to align. The diagram depicts what makes for an ideal job – x marks the spot.
As highlighted above, don’t limit your explorations to careers that exist today. Consider many of the underlying trends occurring as the world, companies and markets digitize. Even the jobs of yesterday such as lawyers. solders and doctors won’t be the same during your career – all will morph into something completely different with drones, AI, and the advancements in technology.
As you think about your options, explore what skills and education you will need to be successful in the careers that interest you.
3. Put your foot in the water. 🌊
Find out more. Use your contacts, and extended network to find out if your assumptions are correct. Take on temporary work, voluntary work, internships to find out more. After graduating people give you license to test different scenarios, options, verticals, and roles. You are not expected to have your career figured out right away. Even those that knew what they wanted to be often pivot and change directions.
Every journey starts with a single step.
4. Assess the Competition 🤔
It’s too easy to follow everyone else. So many graduates apply for graduate schemes or “trendy” companies that the number of people applying for every opportunity is in the hundreds. You may get lucky but we suggest you spread your bets.
Also, many believe themselves to be creative and think themselves ideal candidates for graphic design – unfortunately those that make a decent living in this area are not necessarily those who are the most creative, they typically are those with the highest turnover, those that hustle and are naturally good a selling their capabilities – put like that, does graphic design have the same appeal?
5. Multi Stage Life ✅
Those graduating today probably won’t retire at 65. Medicine is so good today that many will live way beyond what their parents and grandparents did – so the 3-stage life of school, work, retire, is not sustainable in Western society. As such many graduates moving forward should expect more than one career. Retraining later in life for new opportunities. So long as you continue to learn not only about yourself but also new skills and stay salient to what is required your career may have many more sides than you expected.
All in all, the reality is you will most likely change career paths a few times before you find something that truly makes you happy. Despite what social media makes it look like, remember, the majority of people are in the exact same position.