We all go through life with aspirations – be it for that great car, a dream house, the perfect round-the-world trip. But when it comes to careers, few of us are blessed with the deep-rooted insight needed to know exactly what job we want, and how we’re going to get it. There’s usually a vague notion of the industry you wouldn’t mind working in, or a company you think your friend said had really good vacation leave, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of position title – of what you want to actually be doing day-in-day-out? Not so much.
So how do you nail down that ultimate job of yours? The thing that makes you sit back after a long day at work and go ‘Ah yes, this is the good life!’ Well, we’ve got a few good ways for you to get started.
As cliché as it is, knowing yourself is truly the first step in narrowing down what exactly your dream job is. You need to evaluate what your core values are, and what purpose you want your work to have. Whether it’s in your phone or in the back of a notebook, make a list of what you value most in your work. Is it the opportunity to be creative? To help people? Write it all down and keep your notes at the forefront of mind when you start thinking about your career.
We’re all good at some things and struggle with others, even when we’re undertaking a degree on a singular subject. Some aspects of your studies probably come quite easy to you, while others might take a bit more effort (or sometimes seem downright impossible). Pull out that initial list again, and add to it your top ten strengths and skills – anything from teamwork to Photoshop skills – all of it is relevant regardless of whether it is directly linked to your degree or not. These are the things you bring to the table, and what will help you meet that purpose and those values you listed in the first step above.
If you’re going to be doing this for a while, you might as well be doing something you enjoy. So have a think back through your studies so far, and figure out what has brought you joy so far. Which assignments haven’t actually been half-bad? What did you enjoy going over in prac? What tutorials were maybe – gasp – a little fun? Make note of which tasks you wouldn’t mind doing over and over and add them to the ‘career possibilities’ pile.
When you were but a wee child, fresh to the harsh realities of the world, what did you tell people you wanted to be when you grew up? What jobs did you read about in K-Zone that sounded absolutely incredible? What was it about these jobs that made them so appealing? And guess what: write it down. These jobs that you used to aspire to likely contain key elements that were important to you or that made you happy – I mean, if work sounds like ‘fun’ to a kid then there must be something there worth looking at!
Once you put all of these elements together, you’ve got a pretty decent recipe for narrowing down an industry – and can even begin looking into position descriptions to see what matches, and really start getting a clearer idea of what jobs to look into (or even applying for).
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