I recently graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree, and I don’t have a full-time job yet. I don’t even know if I’m still passionate about what I went to school for.
Where do I even start with finding the right job for me?
~Jumbled Juliane in Jacksonville
Caitlin, today’s Dear Ellie columnist, has some solid advice for you:
Congratulations on accomplishing a major step in your career! Here’s what I know about the start to our professional careers, which I’ve heard confirmed by more people than not, and it is that where you start and where you end is not the goal. The goal is to be happy about the journey you’re setting out on. If your desire is to learn and evolve yourself, then you’ll always find the right job for yourself.
‘Passionate about what you went to school for’ is a loaded statement, dear one. That can carry a lot of weight and unneeded stress at this point in the journey.
Stepping out into the workforce takes another mini-lesson. This portion of graduation is where you sit down and write out the exact type of job environment that you seek. Let’s say that you graduated with a degree in supply chain or psychology. Okay, good. Now, we’re helping you look for the exact environment to foster the best form of you.
Big buckets: I want you to ask yourself what are the 3 – 4 big things you want to have in the ideal job. What needs to be included in your day-to-day to feel awesome in a role? Examples: I want to have a mentor-boss who allows for training outside the job, an energetic office space or freedom to work at-home or in-office, opportunities to build teams or travel.
What we’re doing here is building the environment that your ideal, passionate job will fit into rather than you fitting into a box. Really the flip side of your question is to say ‘How do I avoid a job that has NO passion?’ Build it, friend, build it.
Okay, let’s get down into the nitty-gritty of finding a job.
Prospecting: We use this word ‘Prospecting’ often in the business world, which means building an extensive list of folks you know, or want to know, finding the connections in your network, and pursuing them to get some face-time. You’ll find this step to be important any time you are job-prospecting. Pro tip: Google sheets and lots of color coding, haha.
Now, I know what you may be thinking… “I don’t know anyone, I just graduated”. Right now this is not about who you know that has the perfect job waiting for you, it’s about who in your world knows THE person with the ideal job. We’re after the folks in your extended network – connections upper graduates have in the job market, an older brother/sister who’s several years into their career, the aunt/uncle/cousin who’s been working for a decade plus, connections through your professors, alumni organizations.
LinkedIn, baby! If you haven’t already, get yourself on LinkedIn. There are numerous best practices out there for establishing a network, but the easiest place to start is to hit ‘Connect’ with a message that reads “I recently graduated with XYZ degree, I’m building out my network in this field. May I make the connection with you, perhaps even chat about how you got into this career field?” If someone came to me with that approach, I’d always say yes.
Now that you’ve defined what your job environment looks like so you start bringing that closer to you, and now that you’ve started to build out a network, it’s time to get face-to-face.
Coffee talks or Zooms. Ask folks you know to introduce you around. Go out for coffee or chat over Zoom with at least 5 people per week and the doors will open up. Don’t forget to actively listen. Follow your nose to those who are living their best. And then, ask who they know that’s hiring. Boom, you’re on the radar.
Connections are the fuel that drives finding new jobs, finding perfect companies, establishing forever referrals, and on-and-on. I myself was at a crossroads moving from one career to another (I’m not on my 3rd career change) and will always remember one gal who was kind enough to forward my resume along to my soon-to-be-boss-lady. It was an absolute turning point, and I made sure she knew how big that was for me.
Work each day on visualizing and seeing yourself in that new environment you built. Embody that feeling you’ll have once you’ve reached that space. It may be in the first job, it could be in the third, the journey is beautiful and I am SUPER excited for you!!
You’re going to excel and do wonders! Feel free to find me on LinkedIn. I’ll help, too 😉
Caitlin + Ellie