Fresh out of college? Facing the dreaded question “what now”? Been there, done that! I was the typical lost-with-zero-self-awareness-looking-for-any-job type of graduate. I had no idea what I can do or what I wanted to do. Well, the situation has changed for me. It did take me 4 years of trials and plenty of errors to figure out what I wanted to do, but thanks to my career coaching training. Now, I have a clear roadmap for my desired career path.
It takes time to set the plan and carry it out. So be patient and flexible. Your commitment is a crucial aspect here, so don’t be slacking, instead get to planning!
Before considering career options, degree-related or not, you have to ask yourself first, ‘which role would fit me?’. If you have an answer to this question, Kudos! You’re one of the lucky ones who possess a reasonable level of self-awareness required for this step. If you don’t, which most of us sadly don’t, then you would need to take a moment to answer this question.
There are some points to consider when the self-exploration phase starts,
- Your personality: what type of jobs fit your personality type (you can look for personality or online psychometric assessments to help you with some initial indicators)
- Your career values: what’s more important to you in your career (your job’s social impact, the location of the company, the salary range, etc.)
- Your motivated skills: how your skills and qualification can fit the role of your choice (check some skills and qualification inventory assessment such as RIASEC).
Utilize these tools to give you a list of potential career options. If you feel excited about one or more, write them down along with the main character aspects that you’ll get from the personality assessment, the motivated skills, aka tasks, you’d enjoy doing as well as what you want your job to offer you.
Consider Career coaching to help you out through this phase. It will help challenge your pre-existing beliefs and considerations for yourself and will shed some light on some points that you, yourself, have not considered for your career choices. We all need the extra push sometimes.
Relate your degree to job market! Or don’t!
Your college education can give you many career options to consider. There are some obvious degree-related options that you get introduced to during your 4-7 years in college. As an example, if you’ve graduated from the Faculty of Commerce, you can work in accountancy, human resources (based on your major), banking, logistics, sales or business development. If you’ve decided on one of the options already, then hooray! You can now just start applying for entry-level jobs that don’t require much experience and then build your way from there.
If you’re uncertain which opportunity fits you more, this plan will help you decide. Write down all the jobs you might be working and let’s see how it goes.
Know your job market
‘How does the market look like today?’ is one of the most important questions you should get an answer to. There is an ever-increasing number of available of jobs every day. WUZZUF has more than 7000 jobs at this moment including almost every function and industry there is in the Egyptian job market. So you’re provided with access to literally thousands of jobs that you can research.
So take the list of career options that you’ve been provided with within the previous two steps and add any others that you came across this far and start researching.
Shortlist your options
Read through the job descriptions, and I mean really read through them, try to visualize yourself doing them. Your understanding of what you might be doing day in and day out is critical. List the tasks that seem most intriguing to you.
Based on your research in the local market, start grading the jobs based on how interesting they seem to you and how they fit your motivated skills and career values. List all of your skills and values on the table and check the career option that will provide you with the chance to use this skill or will fit your career values. The ones with more check marks are the shortlisted ones. This will help minimize some of the confusion of what can fit you and what you can excel at to a shorter number of jobs. Focus your efforts on a few of options to make it easier for yourself to land a fitting opportunity.
Ask a subject matter expert
A subject matter expert is an individual with an exceptional understanding of a specific function, technology, career track or a business aspect. This expert will provide you with a realistic point of view into the career track(s) you’re considering, hopefully, let you in on some of the trade secrets and recommend the most effective and straight to the point ways that will help you fast track your learning process.
You can utilize your network here, and if you don’t have someone in your network you’d consider an SME, then ask a friend if they know someone, or ask a friend of a friend or even just post a status on your Facebook account asking if someone knows someone. Don’t be shy, I’m confident they’re used to being asked about their field and would not have any problem helping someone looking for information. You can always join a WUZZUF Meetup or attend field-related activities such as Social Media day, Engineering Day, Riseup Summit and of course: job fairs.
Write down their names, their contact details and how to reach them in your plan. Also the list of questions about your career of interest. That will make you seem prepared and informed to the expert. Refrain from asking vague or too general questions, like ‘so tell me, what is software development,’ try something like, ‘which new software I need to be familiar with to start working in android application?’, or something along this way. Just don’t approach the expert uniformed because their role is to fill in the gaps, not to paint you the whole picture.
Learn, learn & then learn some more!
Just because the 4-7 years of institutionalized education is completed doesn’t mean that we stop learning. Investing in a field-related learning option will not only help you understand more theories about the job, but it can also give your chances a great boost when you start applying for jobs. You can always look through online courses through Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Edx, Code Academy and other infinite numbers of MOOCs online. There are also many offline courses that you can consider, make sure to ask an SME for any place they can recommend.
Based on the SME’s input, your own research and, possibly the list of sources mentioned above, write down the information gathered and add a timeline for your learning journey. Your commitment and investment in building your knowledge about the field are imperative, I can not stress this enough. And again, be realistic and don’t cram everything within a single week or something. Do things on your own pace, no one is rushing you.
Refine your tools
Your CV, WUZZUF profile, cover letter and your interview techniques are your tools. There are tons of online resources that you can use to acquire a nifty CV template or cover letter writing techniques. Google them and make sure you use the most recent templates, as there are plenty of old-school templates and tips.
Remember, not to add a photo to your CV and please, oh please, don’t write an objective. If it’s not going to add more information than “working for a reputable company where you can utilize and enhance on your skills” then, just don’t! If you have your CV at hand, remove the objective and the photo, highlight your prior, even if not too long, experience using power words and clear details.
If you’re in the software development field, design, art, creative writing, photography or any field that would require you to have an organized, neat and updated online portfolio, then your online GitHub or Behance profile is your way to easily showcase your technical skills. If you need any assistance getting your CV, profile, and interview skills professionally reviewed and refined, get in touch.
Going through all of the above should provide you with a clear view into what you’re fit for, what you’re capable of and a list of jobs you’d like to work at. What are you waiting for, start applying for the right job for you right now!
Stop, consider & revisit!
If you’ve made it this far, Good Job! Now you have a plan to follow. But remember that plans are adaptable, and the process is challenging. So even if you found out that the job you considered ideal is not what you need, remember that there’s always a lesson. It’s either you’re acquiring a new skill, or you’re striking out an option off your list. It’s perfectly normal and even required of you, to revisit your plan, your objectives and your reasons for your choices. Go back, consider, research, learn, keep an open mind and start a new journey. It’s always fun to explore!