Whether you’re in that hectic last semester or have recently been hit by the economic crash, chances are you’ve found yourself scrolling through a list of jobs online that aren’t exactly what you had in mind for yourself.
I know, I get it. Your parents are still under the impression that a college degree gets you a cube and a $50,000 paycheck, but it doesn’t exactly work that way anymore.
Maybe you wanted to market P&G’s products. Or to be an engineer at NASA. Maybe you wanted to teach math in that recognized school district on the other side of the freeway.
The Wrong Mindset
Then WHY are you submitting 8 resumes a day to do other jobs? I know why because I’ve been there. I wanted to escape so bad I found myself saying, “Hmmm, I have no restaurant experience, but how hard can it be. Says here they have a training program. I bet I can knock this application out in 15-20 minutes, and go back to feeling sorry for myself.”
I know what you’re thinking, and something IS better than nothing, but it CAN’T be your first step.
Your Strengths Leave You Energized
The first step is to determine what you want to do. Really want to do.
What you really want to do and what you are the most competent at might be two different things. I adhere to Marcus Buckingham’s approach that your strengths aren’t what you’re best at, it’s what makes you happy, what leaves you excited.
If you can mix fancy chemicals to magically make skin tags disappear, but that bores you to death then maybe you don’t want to be a chemist. And maybe you aren’t very good at Photoshop, but each time you create a logo that looks a little bit better than the last, it leaves you walking on air. Perhaps graphic design is your strength.
Pick 1-3 jobs you’d really love to have, jobs that leave you energized after a long day.
Here’s the catch. Maybe someone else is already in that role, maybe it doesn’t exist yet. The point is to pick a couple and then figure out how you can get there. And it may take awhile. That’s when you can go revisit your ‘something is better than nothing’ strategy, but not yet.
- Determine what it is you really want to do.
- Pick 1-3 dream jobs. (Be realistic for your station in life. You won’t be GM of the NY Jets if you’re fresh out of school.)
- Learn everything you can about those jobs and understand how your skills are pertinent to that position. If you don’t have the necessary skills, start acquiring them.
- Find someone who has been in that position, is currently in that position, would know a lot about that position and reach out to them. Tell them you’re interested and that you’d love to learn more. (I’ve found they’re typically busy, but flattered you’ve reach out, and will try to help.)
- Finally, using the skills you’ve determined to be relevant, newly acquired skills, etc. and the knowledge you’ve gained from interviewing/shadowing/asking tons of questions find a way stand out.
We’ll talk about some of the ways you can stand out next week. Don’t read this and nod your head and go right back to Monster.com – start taking action right now. Set the wheels in motion because dream jobs don’t happen overnight.
What did I miss? What questions do you have about your job searching experience that I could potentially help with/write about in this series?
This blog started primarily as a marketing blog, but now I write much more about work/life, social psychology, health and happiness. I will also continue to explore top performers (authors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and more) and dissect what we can take away to be top performers in our own work and personal lives.
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