How do you find a job that you love? This is quite a loaded question but it is one that almost everyone has asked themselves at least once in their life.
This moment can come at any point whether that be during high school, college, post-grad, or during a breaking point of disliking your current career.
During High School
During the latter years of high school, when considering colleges and working on applications, a student is faced with the decision of choosing a major. That major will eventually lead to a career path. While there is some wiggle room, it is good to go into college knowing generally what you like.
While undecided is an option, it is best to go into college with an idea of interests. With this evaluation, you can consider if their educational path is the correct one. Different fields require a different level of education.
While in high school, ask yourself these questions. What subjects are you good at? Which subjects do you enjoy the most? If that subject doesn’t have a specific career route, is there a route that uses similar skills?
To help with this, try out a variety of different electives and extracurriculars. Along with that, most high schools require students to take an aptitude test. These are great because they give general skills and passions, then translate them into job titles that the person would enjoy.
During every stage of life, networking will be important. But during high school, it is a bit tough to network. However, you can begin doing informational interviews with people. A good place to begin with informational interviews is within your parents’ network of friends and acquaintances.
With this overload of information, keep in mind that any decision you make is not going to be the rest of your life. In college and beyond, there are many opportunities in life to switch the type of work that you do.
In college, this is typically when you figure out what your dream job is. Although, the four or so years will usually be trial and error. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one-third of bachelor’s degree students change their major once.
There are hands-on ways to figure out what career path you’d like to take following graduation. Participating in internships, externships, mentorships, and extracurriculars can help significantly.
An internship is a perfect way to test out a career. They are longer experiences with doing smaller tasks at companies. They can even lead into a full-time position if both you and the company are a good match for each other.
An externship is a combination of experience and internship. It is a form of shadowing an individual during their job to get an idea of what tasks they do.
A mentorship is when someone who has an established career gives someone advice on how to get into that industry or job. This can be within a formal program or an informal experience. They will share their own path, advice, and more.
In terms of extracurriculars, test out a variety of them during college. Certain clubs such as mock trial, speech and debate, and student government, can give you a better idea of what you enjoy for a future career.
During the college opportunities, this is the time to understand what type of company culture you enjoy. Particularly, if you want to work for a large corporation, small business, or somewhere in between.
Soak in the information on how to write a resume and cover letter, but also skills on interviewing.
Post College Graduation
When searching for jobs, it is hard work. Especially in the current pandemic and historic unemployment rates. Getting any job right now is an accomplishment, but you want that job to be the one that you love. These steps will help guide you into that job during this time.
The first thing is to do your research. In general, research which jobs you can get with your major and experiences. But, do not limit yourself too much when sending out applications. Decide which companies would be your dream companies and identify who the recruiters are for those companies.
When searching for jobs, comb through the job description to see if the job would be something that is enjoyable. For example, you do not want to work in sales if you are an introvert.
If you get to the point where you are offered an interview, do research on that company. Search the public information that they are posting and information even if they aren’t the ones posting it. Speak to past and present employees if possible.
When in a job interview, keep in mind that the interview works both ways. If the company is not a good fit, it will be difficult to explain the jumping around jobs. Something that is important to ask about within an interview is the work/life balance.
If you are offered the job and there are aspects that do not fit with you, consider negotiating.
While it is difficult to find an ideal job, it is not impossible. The work put into finding the ideal job is worth it.
Most people do not go into the right job for them directly following graduating college. It might not be bringing you happiness, or there might be a better fit opportunity out there in the job market. Whatever the reason, it is normal to change jobs, and even normal to have a career change.
When considering your next job, make a list of things that are “needs” in the next job. Aptitude tests are not just for high school and college students. Consider taking one to evaluate what a good job would be for your skills.
Sometimes, a career change might require further education whether that be a Bachelor’s or an Associate’s degree, certificates, or further training.
Something that is important to do while in a current career or transitioning is building a network using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. If transitioning in careers, it never hurts to have a network that can connect you directly with hiring managers and recruiters.
While at this point, you might want to consider getting a career coach. They can help you with hands-on guidance in the transitional process and give you professional advice.
At the end of the day, so much of your life will be spent at a job. So, make sure to do what you love.