Career Planning: Part Three – The Team

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Have you ever been a part of a group project? Sure you have. If you haven’t completed a group project in school at some point than you probably have worked in a team of some sort either in the workplace, on a sports team, or even in your family. When your sibling and you take on your parents in a friendly game of MarioKart…well despite watching your parents crash and burn ( ^_^ )…that’s a team and teams can often accomplish more than you thought yourself individually capable of.

I hinted at this topic last week by stating when preparing for war you need to affirm that you have the necessary resources, allies, and plans to ensure victory. Although we discussed how your dreams are completely your own and no one will ever have quite the same dream job, you may need some help to get there.

A few things can help you get there:

  1. Family – I know, I know. Sometimes don’t you just want to avoid your family. I understand, however keep in mind they were in your position twenty-thirty years ago. They have experience and contacts that may help you reach your dream job a step or two faster. All the expertise in the older generations is wasted on youths that don’t take advantage of that valued experience. Ask a member of your family how many jobs they’ve had? Where they first lived? How much their first paycheck was? You will notice some startling similarities and differences. Yes we are living in a different social and economical society currently, but you never know when your Grandfathers ex-partner will mention how his son is looking for a marketing supervisor. Use the ties that bind.
  2. Networking – When stepping into a job that may be considered the lowest rung on the climb to your dream job, try to remember that the people you meet on the way up will help to build and connect you to more avenues that may act as shortcuts to that job. Networking involves going to conferences, calling or emailing perspective clients, employers, or partners. The point is you need to connect and share information and ideas readily in order to receive that feedback equally in return. Remember the group project? I bet if you were trying to develop a revolutionary idea and it was just you, you wouldn’t have gained all the amazing input you did from the rest of your team. Try checking online sites such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, even Facebook and start building connections.
  3. Individualizing – Resumes!!! Yep I said it the “R” word. We’ve been building them since our parents told us “Get out and get a job!” There are many different formats you can apply to a resume. The current cookie-cutter design involves scripting your education, work experience, and special qualifications to a two-page memoir of only things that relate to the job you’re applying for. I’m not saying it’s wrong – in fact it’s probably the safest thing you can do to at least get your resume in the pile, but that’s where it’ll stay. In the giant pile of the other five hundred applicants who have applied, so if you want to be seen you need to have an individualizing factor. Something that either grabs the employers attention within the first five seconds of reading your cover letter or stands out as an unlikely skill that few int he giant pile possess. If you can attract an employers eye to a specific skill that sets you apart they may want to know more leading to an interview.
  4. Appropriate– Depending on the career you want you will want to suit yourself to what you will be doing. Social norms may be limiting sometimes, but in the workforce your dream job may involve you switching the miss-matching socks for standard black. Self-expression is necessary in human behaviour, so if you have questions about that tattoo on your neck or your bright pink polka dot tie ask the employer. Don’t show up the first day of work and get scolded based on an avoidable error.
  5. Resources – When career planning it’s important to have a few people (not your friends) who can act as your advisors. Lawyers, accountants, and industry representatives can help you navigate the shark infested waters of politics, investing, mortgages, and job searching. We all need a few people in our lives that we don’t necessarily count as friends but who can always tell us bluntly when we’re making a dumb decision. If you’re interested in being a chemical engineer I suggest you find a mentor who has worked in the field.

The team will be your toolbox of people who will open doors you may not have even considered before. Your journey to your dream job may be a meandering one, but with a little help and some guidance you can get there.

Tune in next week: The four words that get you in the door…”Hi my name is…”

 

Kelly Skidmore

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