Any youngster facing the myriad of career choices and plethora of advice may be forgiven for being overwhelmed at how to go about finding a job. Whilst there are emerging trends that the younger generation don’t want just any job (wanting to make a difference, to work for a company that has strong values, that does business with ethics, a job where they feel they matter being amongst some of the wishes) every youngster (and person for that matter) is different. What is consistent however is that every individual will thrive in a different environment.
Finishing university or school is just the beginning of our learning experience. Our work is a great way to expose us to new environments and new challenges that enable us to become the best version of ourselves, with great skills and a great character.
But in order for this to happen, we need to find the environment that is most conducive. So if you are young and looking for work, how should you go about it?
You have only just graduated so you may think you haven’t got much to say on a CV or a job application. But having spent around 24 years on this planet, there are experiences you have had, observations you have made, things you have learned, views you have started to form. Write them down. Reflect upon them. Figure out what makes you tick, what doesn’t. Discern your likes and dislikes. Find your highs and your lows. What you are proud of, where you could have done better. Identify experiences and lesson you would still like to have. Find your story.
Youngsters in this generation are so lucky – you have access to mounds of information on various industries, sectors and even the businesses themselves. Instead of spending time on Facebook pressing like and share, you might be better off doing some research to see what appeals to you. Make a list of companies that interest you. See what appeals and what doesn’t. Look up the people who work their. Does anything / anyone resonate?
Be brave (and vulnerable)
Reach out to the companies and people you have identified to learn more. It may seem daunting picking up the phone or sending a mail to a complete stranger but the world we live in is intimately connected. Jump on LinkedIn and track them down. See if you know someone who knows them. Create and leverage your network. Once you get hold of them, ask them about what they do. What they love about it, what they don’t. What types of people they look for? Do you fit? Don’t hold back from telling people your aspirations. Even be brave enough to tell them you don’t know and you’re exploring. You will see that people are pretty kind and are willing to lend a helping hand because you know what, we’ve been there, we know what it’s like and we want to help and encourage you to find the right path. And we will appreciate your honesty.
A mentor once told me, “You have two ears and one mouth use them in that proportion (and engage the grey matter in between)”. Ask smart questions and listen intently. Listen to what is said and what is not said – sometimes more is shared in the spaces in between. And also listen to yourself – some call it their gut, others their intuition, this will help you figure out if something is right for you or not – the package may be tempting, but are these people you want to spend your time with?
Don’t be surprised if you are offered an opportunity along the way. Don’t overthink it. At some point you must take a decision, and once you do, do it wholeheartedly. Just make sure you can learn from your boss and s/he or someone else in the organisation will take you under their wing.
Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She has a successful track record in building teams that last and helps transform cultures for people, businesses and communities to thrive.
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