Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How To Find Your Dream Career


Happy Hump Day! Isn't it wild that we're halfway through the week already?! Thank you, long weekend! 

I've been going through some [good] changes in my life recently and reflecting on how I got where I am. I've been meaning to start a career advice series for ages. I want to share what I'm going through as I change careers. 

If you didn't know, I fully changed career paths less than a year ago. I started my career in health-related research. I got my bachelor's degree, worked in research for two years, then got my master's degree in New York. During my master's, I started to realize that this wasn't the path for me. After my program concluded, I spent some time applying to jobs in the health field; honestly, I felt guilty so that's what I did. After a few months, I literally couldn't do it anymore. I was lying to myself and employers. I took some time to reflect and search for my next move. In this post, I want to share a few things I did to find my current field. 

1. Read: The moment I told my parents I wanted to switch careers, they ordered me this book. An updated edition of this book comes out every year and it's been around for a while now. The first half discusses getting a job and the second half helps you gain clarity on what you want to do. Do the exercises and make lists! I wrote all over my copy.

2. Meet With A Career Counselor: I realize this may not be feasible for everyone but if you can, do it! This is still something I still mention in job interviews when potential employers ask about my transition. I was fortunate to have just completed graduate school and my university has a great career center. I made an appointment with a counselor. We basically discussed what I'd done before, why I didn't like it, and some ideas of what I might like to do. She recommended a few jobs off the bat but also had me take an in depth assessment. We went over the results in a follow-up meeting and she gave me more career options then. My current field came from one of her suggestions! 

3. Browse Job Boards: If you have some ideas from the book and/or career counselor, I recommend scanning job boards. My favorite job boards are IndeedLinkedIn Jobs, and Google Jobs. Take a look at what jobs are out there, what are their titles, and what qualifications are required for them. You may not have all the skills you need already but you can certainly consider taking classes and/or doing an internship to gain experience.

4. Update Your Resume: Per my last tip, you need to have your qualifications in check to even be considered for your dream job. Look at the skills required and update your resume with any you have.   Tailor your resume to postings for particular jobs. There are tons of free resources that offer resume support. If you are a student, I highly recommend your career center. I remember taking my resume there during my time as an undergraduate. Also, local libraries [NYPL does!] tend to have free classes about resumes, job hunting, etc. 

5. Try Out A Job: Whether this be a taking on temporary work (what I did initially) or diving into a full time position, find a way to test the waters. I applied and interviewed for tons of jobs. The best fit happened to be temporary so I took it for the experience. I ended up learning way more than I expected and meeting some of my closest friends. 

These definitely aren't magical solutions but these are a few things I did and they helped me. I sincerely hope you find your dream job! I know I'm 10x happier today than I was a year ago.




2 comments

  1. What a great positive article! I'm all ready to change careers - oh wait I recently did that. I love all your different ideas, especially having some reading to start out with.

    A lot of suburban communities have career centers nowadays. In our area some of the community colleges do as well. A lot of the teachers, at community colleges where I've taken classes, have ideas about career tracks. It can be scary the first time you approach a teacher for career advice, but generally they love to do it and often have job experience outside of academia. I know that you did great networking with professors when you were doing your bachelors that helped you land your research job between BA and MA.

    I love most knowing that all these things you did, helped you get your new job.
    I'm so impressed with where you ended up!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's true--there are more career centers now. I'm sure that will help a lot of people!

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