As I start down a new avenue along my ever-changing career path, I think it’s a good time to reflect on where I’ve just been.
In June 2008 I started work at Syracuse University’s Career Services office. And when I took the job, I knew literally NOTHING about the field of career services. Sure, I had the right mix of experience for the my job working with alumni, but the only experience I had in terms of career was managing my own, and somewhat poorly at that.
So two years down the line, I feel like a know a little bit about careers and job search and interviewing, and especially networking….all those mysterious things that every job seeker wants to know about. I’m going to share with you a few of the most important things I’ve learned.
1. It’s not Rocket Science. If I can do this, so can you. Meaning, if I can learn how to connect with the right people, learn about job opportunities and market myself, so can you. How did I do it? Listen and observe. The best places to do that right now are on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can follow the most amazing people, and they are giving away FREE advice every day of the week! It’s there for the taking!
2. Degree/Major ≠ Career. Having managed a database with 1,700+ mentors for the past two years, I can assure you of this fact. Rarely, do you run across someone who is 5+ years out of college who is doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE DOING. The thing is, most kids growing up are only exposed to a handful of careers. There is no way of knowing everything that exists out there, and on top of that, new career fields are being created all the time. So when people get out of college they tend to go for the types of jobs they have *heard about*. And that’s all well and good until they start getting exposure to the world of work and realize all the different things they could be doing. At that point, it becomes essential that you follow what interests you, regardless of degree. People do it all the time. Take me for example, I have degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education. Do I seem to you like someone who is pining away for a nice bulletin board covered with construction paper? At one time I was…but the fantasy was better than the reality and I had to change gears.
3. Most people are fundamentally nice. You know, it could be that there was some aberration and I was just handed the nicest people on the planet to work with, but I don’t think that’s the case. From day one of my job in career services, I was able to interact with and assist and learn from some amazing people — students, alumni, recruiters, employers, faculty, you name it. I could not believe my good fortune. It seems that when you are in a position to help people, it works in your favor. People see *helpers* (for the most part) as being good. Therefore, when they interact with helpers, they come in with their defenses down and their niceness up. That’s a great way to interact with the world…so if you can position yourself as a helper, no matter what your career field or job title, you will be setting yourself up for success.
There’s lots more where this came from, but suffice it to say that grasping these three really simple concepts will take you places you never dreamed.
As I move into the new and exciting world of social media and become a communications professional, I will still continue to hone my skills in career and helping others find their dreams. I will just be helping different people and using different platforms. I hope you will come along with me on this journey and see what else we can discover and share.