So after all those years in school, college and University, you are finally done with education. (At least for now). Woop woop! Now what? Is it now time to be more like a real adult and get a full time job? Or perhps find something to do with all this free time you have?
Maybe you’re wondering how you start to even think about what to do next, or maybe you have a dream career path in mind but you’re not really sure how to go about it.
You are at a crossroad in life.
Your whole future is ahead of you.
It might be easy to get to the next step or it might be tough – you really don’t know.
You just know you have to do something to move forward in this thing called life.
This was my situation this time last year.
During my year of volunteering after University, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and actually get a job.
My job search allowed me to learn a few key things about navigating that crossroad stage in life.
I am not claiming to be an expert on this whole job hunting fiasco, but I have learned that there are a few things you can do to help yourself figure out what you would like to do, which is a good start especially if you feel clueless.
1. Get to know yourself
I think that it is so helpful to have an awareness of yourself when it comes to choosing the type of job you want to go for. I would encourage anyone who is about to embark on a job hunt to take the time to reflect on their life so far. Try to identify the things you are good at, the things you enjoy and the things you are interested in. I know this might sound a bit vague but this thinking process is all about trying to identify some things you can do that someone will be willing to pay you for.
Whilst it is helpful to think about this,
I understand it can be difficult to recognise your strengths independently and even when you think you know, you might still feel uncertain.
I recommend taking a few career aptitude tests to help you with this. This was something I spent time doing and I found it to be surprisingly insightful. As I took a few tests, I began to notice a few trends.
2. Discover potential opportunities
Next, do some research into the job opportunities around you.
If you want to live
in a particular area, look into the sectors that people in that city currently work in. Also look into the biggest employers in this area.
You might come across a particular company that you would like to work for or you might identify some opportunities that you weren’t aware of.
Then of course spend time doing some generic job searches looking for the potential jobs you are interested in.
Read the job descriptions and see which kind of roles resonate with you the most so you can begin to narrow down your search.
3. Apply for those opportunities
It is all well and good finding opportunities that might suit you but you’ll find it difficult to get that ‘dream job’ if you don’t step out and apply.
When you do apply make sure you put your best foot forward – give each application
some real thought.
A strong CV is a good start and there are plenty of tips and resources online to help you put one together.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or career advisors who may be able to give you constructive feedback in how you can best represent yourself.
Also, when you find a job that you are interested in don’t put yourself out of the running by deciding that you are not good enough. If you think you can do what the job describes, even if it will take some learning, that is enough of a reason to apply.
They may have a 10 stage competitive process or you might not have the exact qualifications they are looking for. But you never know until you try. When you do get interviews always ask for feedback when they respond to you as there may be something you can learn for next time.
I feel really fortunate with how things worked out for me but I was never convinced that it
would work out this way. No matter what happened I aimed to continually trust God. I wanted to be practical and positive and thankfully this worked out for me but I know these phases in life can be challenging. You will probably have your fair share of rejection but try not to dwell on the closed doors. Know that there will be more doors for you to try. Take time to reflect if you need to, then move on to find your next step.
Helpful links that have inspired me:
Aptitude test: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/planner
Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCO8eoDWqHQ
CV advice: https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv.htm