How to find the job without the dream - what to do when you don’t know what to do…
There’s a lot of pressure to know exactly what you want to do in your career, and what you want to do for the rest of your life. Some people are lucky enough to have a clear-cut path and follow it all the way into retirement. Other people (myself included) are not quite this fortunate.
Job hunting can be daunting, frustrating and demotivating at the best of times. When you don’t know what you want to do, it makes it even harder. Having interviews and being asked questions about yourself that even you don’t know the answer to. What’s the point? You just end up flustered and embarrassed. From my recent experience in finding a new career, I learnt a lot that I think (or at least hope) can help you on your next job search.
Firstly, look at your current working situation – what do you like about it? And what really sucks? Find the things you’re good at and the things you know you could improve on. Write a pro’s and con’s list (as tedious as it sounds it really does help)
Take a step back and look at it from the outside in. Take some time out to do some research on yourself; your interests, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. If you find it hard to talk about yourself then it’s always interesting to take aptitude or personality tests. You might come to realize qualities about yourself that you didn’t see initially, and you might be able to start painting your own image in a whole new light.
Meet people – whoever is happy and willing to meet you. It doesn’t have to be formal, everyone appreciates a 10 minute coffee break every now and then. Even if you think you have no interest in their field of work, meet them anyway. This is probably one of the best things you can do. The more people you speak to, the more you can start talking about yourself with confidence (let’s be real, this can be hard to do sometimes) and the more you start to realize what your real interests are and where strengths lie and your weaknesses can improve.
It’s okay to be honest about things, if you don’t know what you want to do; be open about it. Even if you’re applying for a company simply based on something silly like how much you like their logo – tell them. If you’re applying for a role you have less experience in, explain your motivations with heart and passion. If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t lie or make it up – this will just come back to haunt you later on. You may not have all the right skillsets they are looking for but most of the time employers are looking for a great personality over having all the right qualifications. Honesty is always welcomed and appreciated. (With this being said, you still need to be realistic about your experience and expectations – you can’t be rodeo clown and expect to land a job as heart surgeon overnight)
Finally, and most importantly, don’t give up and definitely don’t settle. You may feel like you’re getting nowhere, jumping from interview to interview. But take each meeting as a learning experience and be open to receiving feedback (both positive and negative) Don’t settle for a mediocre position just because it’s the only one available. If it doesn’t excite you, don’t do it! You will meet your match, and it might surprise you as to what that is.
You may not find your “dream job” instantly, or ever for that matter (personally I don’t think it really exists) but if you can find something that makes you happy and excited to get out of bed every morning, then what more could you ask for? And if you don’t know what you want then have some ‘you’ time and discover what really makes you smile. Happy hunting!