There’s always a few who have it all figured out–their major, their career, their life plan–those that know exactly what it is they want to do with their life since early on.
Then there’s the rest. The majority, it seems, at least by my very unscientific impression from university. We are the ones that are still searching for direction even in our final year of university, during a time when many say we should pretty much know what we want to do with the rest of our lives.
I didn’t know. And I still don’t (sorry to say this uncertainty does not disappear with that exciting first job). I have a better idea now, but the searching continues, and I expect it to for quite some time.
Interview your relatives and friends about their careers and how they came to do what they do. Interview the helpful professionals in your college’s career’s center, and ask about what opportunities there are and what others with your major have gone on to do. Ask for informational interviews with professionals in the industries that interest you–chat with them about their day-to-day life as well as about how they got to their current position.
Use all these interviews to set up an information vault, a.k.a. your decision-making resource. Learn as much as you can about possible career and professional routes that await you after you leave the gates of your university.
Don’t limit yourself too much
You won’t know whether something may or may not be for you until you fully understand the day-to-day life, or until you try it out. When looking for an internship or a first full-time position, interview widely. Don’t limit yourself only to the industry you “should” go into or that everyone chooses. Interview for different positions and with many companies.
This will be useful in two ways:
- Interviewing is a skill that requires practice. The more you interview, the better you will become at it. You’ll also seem more comfortable and at ease at your big and important interviews because you have been through the process many times and/or have a backup offer if this one doesn’t work out.
- Interviewing will give you a better idea about the industry/company/culture. It can serve as a preview of what your actual job would look like, what atmosphere there is usually like, and what skills and qualities you would get to use on a day-to-day basis. This was crucial for me last year when I attended an assessment center for a well-known recruiting agency in London. Within a couple hours of the interview process (after role-plays and simulations of actual working-day tasks), I knew that the recruitment industry simply wasn’t for me. You never know what you might find out during the interview process.
Have you had an interview recently? Do you agree that practice helps in the interview process? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Anna is a Social Media Marketing Assistant at Pepsmedia, based in Cambridge, UK. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2010 with a degree in Social and Political Sciences, she joined the small team straight out of university and is now helping businesses engage with customers online and build communities. She is passionate about the use of social media both in business and for individuals. To find out more, read her Life With Social Media blog, or connect with her on Twitter @annamanasova and LinkedIn.