Sure, we’ve all heard the old saying attributed to Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” But how realistic is it to land the job of your dreams? And if you’re a recent graduate just setting out on your career path, how do you even go about searching for a job you’re going to feel passionate about?
Well, it is possible – and worthwhile. An article from the University of Southern California describes how liking your job will help you succeed. Those with careers they love are also more likely to be successful in other areas of their life as well. Seems the energy and enthusiasm they get from their job is likely to spill over into their personal life. On the opposite side, those who are unhappy in their jobs are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, factors that can wreak havoc on other areas of their lives.
So, here are five steps you can take to help you find a job you love and that will get you bouncing out of bed in the morning:
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Simply saying that you love science isn’t enough. You need to think about what aspect of science you feel passionate about. Are you happiest when you’re doing research in a lab? Are you passionate about the great outdoors? Do you love working with computers? Think about what you’d like to do most if you didn’t have to make a living.
Once you’ve determined what you like to do, you’re ready for step two – figuring out how to match your passion with a potential career. Laura Kirsch, co-founder of the online career coach Prepped, suggests you start by determining the types of roles where you think you could add value. “If your passion is a concrete skill or specific role, like nursing or social work,” she says, “you can search for opportunities by keying them into job boards. However, if your passion is more about a whole cause or industry, like ‘the environment’ or ‘international development,’ you need to figure out what concrete set of skills you want to bring to the table to contribute to that cause or industry. Will you manage projects or programs? Fundraise? Contribute to marketing?”
Once you’ve found a few exciting jobs to apply for, you need to ensure your resume reflects your related passions. You may have the required Bachelor of Science degree. But what is it about you that sets you apart from other applicants? What is it about the job that gets you excited? Remember, this is something your potential employer wants to know about you as well. They’re looking to hire someone who is going to be enthusiastic about their work. So, be sure to create a targeted resume and include some of your related interests and extracurricular activities – something you can also call out in a targeted cover letter. To help you get started, Kirsch suggests checking out Prepped’s free resume and cover letter templates.
Never underestimate the value of connections. Kirsch recommends scanning your friends, family members and peers to see if any of them work at organizations you admire. She says, “You never know who knows who, so talk about and share what you’re looking for whenever it’s authentic. And don’t forget the other ways your network can add value; your friend who recently landed a job might have great interview and resume tips, even if the job has nothing to do with your passion.” She advises getting out there and meeting with others at least twice a week during a full-time job search. And to help make asking for that coffee a little less awkward, Kirsch suggests using Prepped’s elevator pitch generator, networking tracker and message templates.
Chances are you’re going to have several different careers throughout your working life. So, if you’re just starting out in your career, Kirsch recommends keeping your options open. She says, “People who do this are six times more likely to get a job!” Plus, if you end up being offered a role that isn’t in the exact field that you’re most passionate about, you may still be able to benefit from the experience. Kirsch says, “Consider what skills that role can help you build to better qualify you for a job that feels more aligned to your passions in the future.”
Starting your career path is daunting, even more so when you aren’t sure where you want to go. But identifying your interests and charting your career plan can put you on the road to success.
Identifying what you want to do is just part of the career journey planning process. Sign up for fullyprepped.ca for more guidance and training to help you get the job you want.