When exploring what career direction we’d like to take, we often under-estimate the importance of meeting people who do the job or studies we consider.
Many of us choose our paths based on incomplete pictures of what a career looks like. Hence the high drop out rate at college, and the large number of people (about half of them!) not being happy at their jobs.
So, let’s assume you’ve done the right job at assessing your interests and talent. You’ve done some kind of test or quiz to get this defined.
Let’s then also take it that you have done quite a bit of browsing to get a sense for the studies or career you want to take.
Use findmino.com to get ready. You can do a self-assessment ‘swipe quiz’ that gets you a clear profile of what you are good at, and what you like most. You also get a recommendation of possible career paths suitable for you. And you find excellent deep dives into careers, with YouTubes of ‘day in the life’, podcasts and much more.
What’s critical now is to connect with people who are in the studies or careers you consider.
Schools sometimes offer job shadows or internships at employers near by. If so, take that chance. Often referred to as ‘work based learning’ these are great chances to get a good exposure to work life and the specific area you consider.
If not, look for the opportunities yourself, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a job shadow or internship.
You could also just have a coffee with someone, either virtual or in real life.
Sometimes it is not possible to take a job shadow or internship. In that case it could be very helpful to just ‘have a coffee’ with someone. This would get you first hand insight into how a career you consider could actually look like. Where do you start? How can you make an impact?
Let’s see how this could work for you.
Imagine, you are keen to get into fashion design. You are somewhat puzzled about how to get there. Should you go so straight to work, or get into college to start with? You would like to hear more on how a career in fashion design typically looks like. Where do you start. What would make you successful? Finding people who can tell you more about their studies or career in this fields definitely would help.
There are 2 things you can do now.
√ Check with your school if they can help.
Go talk with your guidance counselor or career support center to see if there are programs in place to connect you with people in fashion design.
√ Find a person yourself
In case your school does not offer programs to get you in touch with professionals in your field of interest, or they do not have contacts with the relevant people, go find them yourself.
This is how you do that.
- Check your own contacts. Go talk with family and friends. Ask if they know someone in the field of expertise you are interested in.
- If this doesn’t get you the right names, browse Facebook, Linkedin, or look for blogs or online publications on your subject area.
- When you’ve found the right name(s), go check the email address or contact details. Prepare a brief message to them.
- Send them an email in which you briefly introduce yourself and mention that you would like to have a brief call/ zoom call/ Skype call with them.
You would be surprised how many people would be happy to talk to you. To get in touch with people who consider what they have chosen as a career often triggers them to wanting to help out.
This is what your email could look like. Make it brief and catchy.
Subject: can we have a quick call?Mary,
I found your name and contact details on Linkedin. You have such an interesting career. Right now I am keen to get into fashion design myself. I have looked up a lot of information on education requirements and so on, but would be very interested to get some first hand insights from you. It would help me to get to know how careers within fashion design actually develop. Where do you start? how do you leave your mark?
Would you be okay to have a brief Skype or Zoom call with me. This would really help me in making the right choice.
Looking forward hearing from you,
(206) 123 4567
When you are receiving a response from the person you mailed that they want to talk, make sure you prepare well. Read our blog on how to prepare for Coffee & Career meetings to get ready.
During the discussion you may want to ask if it would be possible for you to have a job shadow with them, or even an internship. And if distance is an issue, you could suggest to make it a virtual job shadow. This would mean that you would see the person again, but now go a bit more into depth, and/or some of their colleagues.
Make sure to end the conversation with the person on a positive note and exchange contact details. Ask if you can stay in touch with them, maybe by connecting over social media.
Want to know more?
Sign on to Findmino.com. Free access. No need to download. FindMino is a web app that offers an inspiring place to get sorted on career choice. In a pleasant way FindMino helps to find your competencies, and to make up your mind on where you want to go. And it pre-sorts quality online information around careers, saving you tons of time to find it yourself.
Job Shadowing Tips for Teens and Students, a blog at LiveCareer.com