You are petrified to join the "real world" workforce. You finished your degree and have all the necessary tools to look for a career, but your confidence is rock bottom. The professional jobs should be left up to the professionals right?
For years I had slugged away installing and maintaining smoke alarms in over 10,000 properties across Australia. It was a modestly paid job and decent conditions, but the work wasn't difficult and it had been my 'University job'. I was trudging through a continuous work cycle, gaining no satisfaction, but too afraid to jump into a career. A conversation I had with a friend one day completely shifted my perception. I explained to him how I don't feel ready, yet feel frustrated that there are so many others out there who have more fulfilling, exciting and better-paid careers who I am just as capable as. My friend put it simply, "You're never ready for a career, no one is". "If you keep waiting to feel ready", he said, "you will be waiting your whole life for something that will never come."
You must take these inspiring words on board and dive into applying for your future career. You have to trick yourself into thinking that you are in fact ready, even though deep down, your insecurities make you feel like you will fail at any job you attempt. You think, you wouldn't want to thrust yourself into an organisation that you would let down. But realise this, if you let them down.. the worst result is that you have to leave company, learn from the failure and do better next time. That's a far cry better than continuing on forever in your current unfulfilling cycle. Best case scenario, you find what you truly love and follow your dreams.
You didn't come across this writing by chance. Either you found it through your own path or someone shared it with you because they know your worth. You're still reading this far because you can relate in some form or another. You're currently at a cross roads yourself. Is it time to fight your fears and do what you know you're worthy of, or install another 10,000 smoke alarms and then 10,000 and another. I have a secret. No amount of smoke alarms will put out the fires of dissatisfaction. You will get older and gradually feel less and less empowered, until one day you look back and think the good life was never meant for you. The truth is, anyone can have the good life. All it takes is proactivity. No one will ever hand anything to you without you working for it. Sitting back and waiting for the world to see the true value that lies within you will never happen. You need to show the world your value and if you keep doing that, the world will repay you 100 times over, with jobs, friends, money and happiness.
Finding a career path may seem incredibly daunting, but I can tell you there is a simple path. It boils down to 7 basic steps:
1. Find a path that will make you happy
People can spend decades in a career that makes them miserable. Why work so hard at something which gives you no joy and you have no passion in. You will end up working merely so you have enough money to afford that puney two week holiday at the end of the year, most of which you will spend worrying about going back to work in January. Find the thing you love and accept the fact that you will be starting at the bottom of that chain. You will inevitably do crappy jobs for some time, but the reward will be far greater than working in a crappy job for your whole life.
One of the most inspiring talks on how to find the right path comes from a man by the name of Earl nightingale. He explains how, to be happy with what you do in your career, you need to do the thing you think about most. Go ahead and be inspired.
Certain personalities suit certain jobs. Take a personality test that may give you more insight into which path to choose.
Take part in a more in-depth test, take the Clifton Strength Finder assessment. It takes 30 minutes and will give you your top five strengths for $15 as well as the best ways to utilise them.
2. Make your LinkedIn profile look superb
85% of hiring managers look at LinkedIn profiles according to Viveca Von Rosen, author of 'LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day'. It's essential that when trying to enter the professional sphere, you have a nicely curated and up to date profile. LinkedIn is the modern interactive digital CV that can provide a potential employer with vital information and when designed well, can make or break being hired.
3. Jazz up your CV
Even though the typical employer spends an average of 7 seconds looking at your CV, it's still an essential part of the process. First impressions certainly count in this instance. If your CV looks cheap and poorly laid out, you'll be lucky if your hiring manager even spends two seconds looking at it before throwing it in the bin. Follow the basic criteria and smoothly transition to the next process of getting an interview.
4. Hunt on job sites
It's never been easier to find a job online. There are hundreds of job sites and you can filter specific search terms down to how much you want to earn, what role you would like or what postcode you want to work in. You can even set up notifications to alert you when new roles become available. One thing to watch for is not to become too casual with your applications. It has become so easy to apply for jobs that you may not put in the time to crafting a decent cover letter. Make each application as important as the last and put in the effort, or it will be for nothing.
5. Use a recruiter
There are people whose job it is to get you a job. I know, crazy huh? They get commission from a company when they recruit a quality employee and it will cost you nothing. Meet with these people, show them your skills, tell them your needs and have them do the hard work for you.
6. Write a flawless cover letter
A quality cover letter is a crucial part of the hiring process. This will be your first point of direct contact with your potential employer. You will be responding to specific requirements in their ad and showcasing your ability to think critically. This step done well and coupled with a quality CV, will smoothly move you through to your interview.
7. The interview
The interview is really the major make or break point in this process. An employer must not only value your skills and training, but they must like you as a person. Don't ever go into an interview blind. Research all the tips and tricks, practice interviews with friends and for god's sake, know the company you're interviewing for.
8. Once you get the job
Congratulations! Now you're part of the working force. You're safe for the time being, but there is a whole minefield awaiting you, that if you're not prepared for will send you back to writing cover letters and flipping burgers. Learn how to adapt to your new role and become highly successful.
Since following these steps, I've spent the past year as marketing manager at a photographic brand experience agency in London. I've had the honor to work on events with top tier brands across the globe. There's no need to be overwhelmed by what action to take to push yourself in the right direction. Now you have the basic 7-step rundown to getting out of your rut to become the person you dream of and know that you can be. So follow them today and watch your life skyrocket.