One of the frequent questions I get asked about is how I knew what I wanted to do after college or at least the type of job I wanted to outside of freelancing/business work. I personally believe this topic isn’t discussed (correctly) enough in college and even when having the “post-grad” discussion with parents. Here are my thoughts and my thought process on how I decided what I wanted to do after college…
*KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT
A very easy place to start is to really look inwards and critically ask yourself what you’re good at. Are you good at talking to people? Are you good with designs/colors? Do you like to be around a lot of people/a lot of energy? Do you prefer to work in a quiet environment, typically by yourself? What gets you off!? I mean seriously though.
When I asked myself this, I wrote it down as well. I am very self-aware that I am great at talking to people, articulating words, and communicating with others. On top of that, I also am mindful of my confident, assertive, and go-getter personality (particularly in professional work). In other words, I don’t mind having to do a job that involves speaking with various individuals and utilizing my communication/public speaking skills. While initially around the Fall semester of my Senior year, I was drawn towards working in digital marketing/branding, social media, and that whole industry, I realized the one thing that didn’t pull me in was that it felt a little too “soft” for me. I guess what I’m really saying is that it didn’t feel like “enough” in a way. I wanted something that required a little more challenge/push, something that required a very alpha mentality. Over time, I reflected on this thought and although I knew that entrepreneurship and having my own business was a great fit, I still wanted to experience the typical post-grad corporate life (of some sort).
I came to realize that working in sales would be the perfect experience and opportunity for me, especially with my natural skills, assertive personality, and experience in sales from my business. And well, every company has a sales team! The key in this reflection was looking into types of jobs that also checked off the boxes of my own strengths/skills aka–great at communicating, willing to be a go-getter, achievement oriented, self-confident, etc. This understanding comes with self-awareness of who you are and what you are truly good at.
*KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE
Instead of thinking about what you aren’t good at, think about what you already know you don’t like to do (especially for work). I learned from one of the sharks on Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran, that it’s a lot more efficient to write down what you don’t like instead of what you aren’t good at, because what you don’t like to do is also usually what you aren’t good at anyways! And it’s typically harder to point out what you’re not good at, because it’s kind of counter-intuitive to think about that of ourselves.
For me, I knew that I didn’t like to sit down at a desk all day, I like to be semi-active, if/when possible. I like the weekly work schedule to look pretty different almost every week, rather than a redundant and routine schedule (again, some people do like that so it goes with preference). I don’t like crunching numbers all day and doing analytical work aka not going into finance lol. Again, this goes back into having self-awareness and the deeper you look inward, the better chance you have of being able to “figure out what you want to do with your life” aka the ultimate question for every college Senior.
At the end of the day, we all have our own unique gifts and skills that we bring to the table. We just have to become fully self-aware of what those are and capitalize on them in our professional work and careers.
If you’re graduating this upcoming Spring, wishing you the best of luck in your final year of college…enjoy it 🙂