YOU HAVE BEEN MISLEAD! Our parents have long-mislead us. However, is it really their fault? I would say NO. Society has constructed us to play it safe by achieving the highest form of academic success as a direct association to attracting the “Ideal Job”. Be a doctor! Be a Lawyer! Be an Engineer! If not these roles, then what have you really accomplished? If you are West Indian, LatinX, or African, I am sure this hits home.
I am here to remind you that doctor, lawyer and engineer roles are not the end all be all. There are a variety of roles across various industries that establish a platform for your future success. It is up to YOU to perform the necessary research that will allow you to choose the ideal role for yourself.
Will it hit the first time?: Probably not, but as you experience transitions, you are bound to find what was meant for you all this time. From there, it is your duty to only climb up. To all of those who are in college trying to figure it out, or to my fellow millennials who have hit the crossroads, I would love to share some insight on what makes the most sense when exploring and declaring your introduction within an industry of interest.
1. Google is Life.
Google is key. This has been one of the most resourceful inventions of our time, allowing us to easily access information that we once had to go to the library for. Let’s take advantage of that. If there is an industry that you are passionate about, take the time to Google it. Some examples of key words you can type in are “Various roles in __”, “Job outlooks in __”, and “Successful people in __”. The “__” should be an industry, not a role. For example, politics, law, media, tech, healthcare, etc. After finding some of these roles and their descriptions, be real with yourself regarding where you are in terms of what is required to attain that role.
2. Let’s bring clarity to the goal.
Now that you have found some roles that interest you, take advantage of social media and other online platforms. You don’t want to just rely on job descriptions that seem interesting; search for experiences. There is YouTube, Linkedin, Instagram and other platforms. Shoot for their search bar, type in those positions and see what type of lifestyle and experiences these people are living through this field. The cartoon videos can be very resourceful, as well. Feel free to, also, check out the biographies or resumes of professionals in your role. Their professional history can help you visualize what you need to do to reach their level of success and beyond.
3. School, Internship, Volunteer
Now that you have done the research to understand what others have done to get to where they are, replicate that. However, do it in a way that makes sense for your current situation. If this transition consists of obtaining a new degree, it is evident that making time to prepare for examinations to get into school is a must.
While in the process of preparing for this transition, you should pursue an internship or volunteer. The traditional way to obtain these opportunities is to look for programs. However, sometimes this doesn't always work out as they may be seeking people with more experience than you have.
Get Aggressive: Look out for people who are working at an institution or company that you would like to work at. Take the time to introduce yourself, express your interest in volunteering at their company and insist on a brief phone call to further connect and learn more about each other’s experiences. Remember to be persistent and do not lose faith. The workforce is becoming more competitive so don’t lose faith if you aren’t consistently receiving the feedback you yearn for.
4. Develop your skills.
Soft skills and hard skills are two sets of skills to become familiar with. Soft skills are traits that stem from your character such as efficient communication and relatability. Hard skills are teachable and measurable skills. These can include digital marketing, coding, ability to use software, graphic design, etc. YOU NEED BOTH to ensure that you are marketable in the fields that you are interested in. If you have work that attributes to your skill sets, consider developing an online portfolio or website.
5. Mentorship and Advisement
You must find a mentor. Mentorship is key to creating a pathway for success. If there is an opportunity that you are seeking, you should find yourself going to events and programs that are filled with people you aspire to connect with. For example, if you are passionate about healthcare, check out the different academic institutions, hospitals and organizations/companies that throw events for the group that you hope to engage with. When you get there, try your best to exit your comfort zone, interact with new people, learn new experiences, AND GET THEIR CONTACTS!!
6. Get that job, feel it out, make the best of it.
You are now either almost done with school or finally graduated. Congrats to you! Now it is time to put yourself back out there and take advantage of your resources. You asked for help, joined organizations, found mentors and more. Now, access that network to find out what job opportunities they are able to provide you with. Most will tell you to go on the company site where they will, then, inform their HR department that you applied. Others may be in positions to better help guide you into a role. If this does not work out, use platforms such as Indeed, Linkedin, Glassdoor and more to seek out opportunities. After you find those opportunities, search for people who work there and reach out to them for better clarity on their work experience.
7. Climb the ladder and consider a side hustle/entrepreneurial opportunity
You got the job! Now spend this time wisely. Learn as much as you can. Contribute as much as you can. This is your first opportunity to be able to build a portfolio or a brand. Now that you have created this, here is when you start brainstorming on what you can either do with your income, as well as, talents you may have been developing for fun
If you have a job, you are most likely working from 9am-5pm. What are you doing with the rest of the day? Whether it is graphic design, doing hair, etc, create a side hustle with that time. If you feel that there isn’t a talent that you have that can make you money, consider starting out investing through platforms such as RobinHood or Ellevest. Maybe even try out a financial advisor. As you are investing, think about a problem in the world that you would love to solve. What does that look like? Work on it, as this may be where the money you have invested/saved will be going down the line.
Remember: Don’t commit yourself to a title/role. Commit yourself to a purpose and understanding of what exactly you are trying to solve in the world.