If you were to ask us, the question “What do you want to become when you grow up” should be asked only after graduating college and not a minute before. It is indeed useful and healthy for people to plan ahead, project a future career for themselves, build towards it from high school even. Society loves people who know what they want and fight for getting it, just as it loves ambitious, hard working young graduates who are driven, motivated, certain of their skills and with real expectations. However, in this challenged world, there are very few who actually became what they wanted as children or adolescents professionally speaking and a lot who just stepped out of college wearing their CV’s and diplomas like sacred artifacts, only find out that they’re not as good as they thought would be, there are not enough jobs to absorb them all or the career they trained for is on the downhill. So you are one of the 4000 accountants that graduated this year, there are not enough positions, you hate doing it or you’re terrible at it. What do you do, young professional?
Changing the career path before it even started is painful, troubling and, moreover, it is time, energy and money consuming. Starting all over again, learning something new, knocking on closed doors, sending job applications to whatever company just to gain the “employed status”, they can be all damaging to a young person. Luckily, however, there are a few strategies you can employ to get back on your feet and find your place in the working world.
Go back to the basics
There have to be some skills or some talents you have and didn’t get the chance to exploit, as you were too committed to graduate and too determined to work in the field you prepared for. But go back to the basics and scrutinize thoroughly what you’re truly good at and what you like doing. As we said before, managers don’t live in caves, they know they won’t find 100% matching candidates for the jobs they offer, but they aim for talent, skills and are result oriented, so you might get a shot in a field you never considered before. Who knows, if you’re worthy enough, you’ll get your promotions and end up doing what you aimed to do in the first place.
Don’t fear internships
Unpaid internships are a nightmare for some who actually need to support themselves, but for others, who can manage their finances, getting to be an intern in a successful company may represent exactly the kick – start they need not only to changing the career path before it even started, but finding their true vocation. Same goes for volunteering. Not only that it will bring added value to your experience, but you can meet new people and build a network of connections that might come in handy at some point.
Research, learn, discover
You may have fierce competition in the field you trained for, but there are a lot of new jobs out there, some which didn’t get a title or a pool of competitors yet. Research the job market not with a desperate, unemployed eye, but with the eye of the explorer who looks for opportunity. Maybe you have some skills that match certain jobs. Maybe your college degree is worth something in an alternative, niche field. Maybe you discover that some certain jobs call directly to your passions and your skills. While doing that, you can learn a lot of new things, academically speaking, but you can also discover a lot about yourself and what are you going to do with your life. Online training courses in no matter what field are no longer a hobby, but an industry and you might be on to something.
Try the freelancer path
You may need to make some money to finance some specific trainings. You also may need to work something to understand what you want to do with your life and where to move forward. Maybe you don’t want to be the corporate role model after all. There are tons of projects available for freelancers, from data entry jobs, to writing jobs, to translating documents, web development, design, IT related projects and so on. Until you have a clear picture of what you want to become when you grow up and until you find the job of your life, freelancing will give you an exact view of what you’re good at, how much can you work, how fast can you put those skills to practice and so on.
As we said, changing the career path before it even started can be a drag. It can also be your launching ramp, as you have the luxury to make mistakes and correct them and to find your true calling.