Graduating college is a time of great exhilaration, but also a time of confusion and uncertainty, particularly when it come to making the transition from school to career. Colleges gives you many of the skills and education you’ll need once you have a job – but they don’t tell you what career path to pursue, which professions you are suited for or information about job titles and career tracks.
So often I hear people say, “If only I had know what career direction to take, my whole life could have been different.” Making wrong decision now can waste a lot time and cause you to have to re-invent yourself later. Getting it right in the first place can make a world of difference.
When thinking about a career most college graduates look at the outside world and say, “What should I be doing? They start with a job title and try to fit themselves into that title. That is the opposite of what needs to be done. They need to look inside themselves first to narrow the focus of who they are; they need to work from the inside out not the outside in.
Working from the inside out means that there are more important questions that need to be asked:
- Do you prefer working with facts or theories, people or paper?
- Are you logical or analytical or more emotional or value driven?
- Do you need structure and routine or freedom and flexibility?
- What activities energies you, what activities de-energize you?
- Do you enjoy being part a team or working alone?
- What excites and energies you the most?
- What do you consider your greatest strengths?
Once you can answer these questions, you will be in a better position to match those qualities with job titles and career opportunities.
Crossing the bridge from one’s education is the biggest leap colleague graduates face today. It needs to be intentional and exploratory. The better you know yourself, the closer you are to getting on the right path.