My Career Mentor Says – Part 1

Job hunting is a process that is always evolving. Currently, we live in a culture of highly educated young professionals with little work experience competing for jobs with older, more experienced professionals who have learned on the job but lack the degrees to prove it. I met with a career mentor of mine last week and she encouraged me to try a different approach to job hunting.

The most important question in job hunting is, she explained, “What do you like to do?”
Starting out in our careers can be overwhelming because anything and everything is possible for our futures! Some of us relish these endless possibilities, but some of us are afraid we might drown in the onslaught. Rather than applying haphazardly to job openings, my career mentor suggested I sit down and map out a few things.
What I like doing in my own free time?
My list includes social media and blogging, crafty projects, reading and writing, organizing my girlfriends for celebrations and sleepovers, visiting with my family, listening to older people tell stories about when they were young, taking long walks, playing with kittens and puppies, traveling, etc. This list can be an endless running list of every single thing you enjoy doing. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder of things that make you smile on stressful days.
What have I liked in past positions?
Here she asked me if I liked a certain atmosphere in the workplace at one job better than another, if I liked working alone or in a group, what projects I really enjoyed being a part of in the past, how I liked the different types of bosses I’ve encountered so far, and so on. This pears down things that you are looking for in a job and workplace. I never thought of a job interview as a two way street, but that’s precisely what she informed me is happening in career culture! When we both feel each other out, we have a better idea of what the other is expecting. Communication is key!
What have I seen other people doing that I think I would like or at least want to learn more about?
This could be managing people, working with budgets and board meetings, delving into office policy and procedure, spending most of your work day out of the office recruiting or promoting, etc. Here we can let our imaginations wonder. As we read job descriptions, we can see what appeals to us and what doesn’t. If we have a list of things we already want to learn more about, we can share that with potential employers. They know we’re young and inexperienced, but they will likely be impressed that we’ve been proactive about our own areas of improvement.
If you’ve already mapped out things that you know you like doing, then when you’re looking at positions posted online or discussing job duties in an interview, you’ve got a solid base of things you’re looking for in a new position.
Next week: Where would you like to work?
  • Share on:

1 Comment