Useful for young professionals and to serve as a reminder to others.
It is said that once you find a job that you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. There has never been a statement that has resonated with more truth.
Here are some ways to get a head start if you’re just starting out on the job market or maybe simply looking to find your niche and purpose:
First thing’s first: You must know what you like and don’t like. The first step is knowing yourself inside out. Sit quietly and do some soul searching. What kind of job do you like? Do you like to be in an office environment or out in the field? Do you like working with adults, children, animals or computer work?
Ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses and make a list of all your talents, abilities and passions. What would you do if money was not an issue and you did not have to work for a living? How would you spend your time in a meaningful way to help others?
I knew from an early age that I had a fascination with words. I can’t imagine life without the ability to write and pen my thoughts. I did not pursue it right away, but always found a way to channel my talents in the right direction.
Sooner or later, I found my way back to my first love. Although I have not hit the jackpot just yet, writing has exceeded my wildest expectations. I still have hopes of becoming a best-selling author one day.
Have a game plan
Once you have identified your talent, create some practical goals and work towards them one day at time. As you progress, you can widen your scope and take it up a notch.
For example, if you want to be a chemical engineer, you can work on taking those chemistry classes as early as high school. Volunteer at a lab during your summer vacations, enter competitions and take part in science fairs.
While in college, apply for internships where you can get to practice what you’ve studied. That way, after you graduate, it’s easier to get a job in your field with the hands–on training you’ve acquired while interning. Once you land that job, design a plan that will take you from point A to Z up the career ladder of your dreams.
Paper the world
Once you have developed a game plan, work on your career skills to get you an interview. Develop a winning résumé by a simple Google search. Whether you are just starting out, or simply want to change jobs, it’s important to market yourself in the right way.
In order to transition fields, you may want to adopt a functional, as opposed to a chronological, résumé; the former highlights all of your similar work experiences together. This is also useful if you have gaps in your employment record.
Visit company websites in your field and subscribe to job alerts. Sign up to employment agencies and participate in career seminars and job fairs at your campus.
Be sure to write a professional and descriptive cover letter that demonstrates your ability and personal attributes, and also sells the recruiter on why you are right for the job.
Think of yourself as a member of the HR department and think about what would make your résumé and cover letter stand out above the rest.
Look the part
Be sure to invest in a few well-tailored and professional power suits. Dark or neutral colors are best; stay clear from form-fitting, tight, short, shiny or revealing clothes. For the ladies, be sure to keep it simple: well-manicured nails, neat hairstyles and jewelry.
The same goes for the guys minus the jewelry. Cover up all tattoos and piercings. Remember you can only make a first impression once.
Walk the walk
Make sure you can look the part and talk the talk. Have you ever seen someone who looked very professional, but were mortified when he or she opened his or her mouth? Let this not be you when you walk into the room and the recruiter asks you a question.
Practice role playing with your friends or family. Let them ask you a few interview questions and talk freely about what comes naturally as opposed to rehearsed responses. Practice being calm and talk about what you know.
Be prepared to talk about anything, including your past job experiences, your extra-curricular activities and your ability to work extra hours.
Be courteous and speak standard English at all times. Always remember that no matter what the recruiter says, don’t get too comfortable or mistake kindness for friendship. I’ve seen everything during my years in human resources, and I’ll never forget one candidate who swore at the interview.
Hone your talents
During your job search and even after you land your dream job, never stop working on you. Whether it’s a short course, an advanced degree or diploma, it will all pay off in the long run, even though you may not appreciate it right now.
If you have a hobby or pastime, develop it. You could also volunteer in your spare time, even if it’s in a soup kitchen or reading to kids at the library.
All in all, it’s your life. Several years down the line, you don’t want to live with regret, thinking of what you should have done if only you had the guts to throw caution to the wind and take a chance on life. There’s no time like the present to do what your heart tells you to do and Make it Count.