I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate. I guess I'll just get a job somehow. This is commonly referred to as graduation anxiety, when undergrads become extremely stressed out because they have no idea what to do after graduation. At school, as a student, you only have to follow the curriculum that’s been planned out event dictated for you. But what happens after you graduate? What's your identity when you can no longer wear the student label for the first time since pre-school? In other words, what career, what new label, do you want to pursue?
Finding the answer to the above questions can be tricky, but don't panic. We'll break it down for you and guide you through the process step by step. What? There is a standard formula for how this works? Actually no, not really. There is no right way of doing things when it comes to searching out your future career. But we will provide you with some ideas to help you get going.
The way people talk, it is often implied that you should to try to pursue a career that you truly enjoy as it will be your one and only. First of all, this statement is less and less likely to become reality. However, you should treat it as such. Then the obvious starting point becomes identifying the activities that you enjoy doing. This sounds very easy, but can be very difficult for some people. Spend some time thinking about what you love to do. It could be active activities, such as playing sports, meeting and talking with people, or making handcrafts. It could be passive activities, for example, solving problems, developing funky ideas, or creating memes.
If you can’t think of anything, that’s ok. Keep this in the back of your head, and when you happen to participate in an activity that you enjoy, take out your phone and record it down. Don't disregard any of these activities just because you can't see how you could make a living doing them at first. I bet Marie Kondo, author of the book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" would never have guessed she could have built a Tidying Up empire based on her passion for organization.
Think about things that you are good at. Do you find yourself learning something a lot quicker than others? Do you excel at something that others have trouble doing? When you are good at something, or can do specific things with ease where others struggle or even fail to do so, more often than not you are going to enjoy doing it. You will enjoy doing it because it brings you satisfaction. Are you good at learning new languages? Are you a social butterfly, good at socializing but also bringing people together? Are you good at debating trending topics with your friends?
Next, do some research on the things you came up with. The goal here is to explore all the career possibilities out there that have at least one aspect in which you enjoy. Remember: If you are stuck, there are numerous resources that can give you a push. For example, do a career test online. While the result may not be 100% accurate, you may be able to extract something useful out of it. You can also try out our Career Match service.
Now that you have a list of possible future careers, you can experiment a little to determine which one matches your interests the most. The best way to do this is to connect with a professional currently working in that role and to ask him/her about it directly. If you have the chance to job shadow someone in that role, even better! You could also try to do some short-term internships or volunteering associated with the specific field or role.
Finding your future career takes time, so be patient and start early! Good luck!
"Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for doing it."
- Katherine Whitehorn