Fix My Job Search: I Don't Know What I Want to Do Long Term

By Tuesday, July 9, 2013 0 Permalink 39

A Reader Writes:

Hi, I’m a recent graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts (Sociology) currently looking for work in the NYC area. I have a positive outlook on the job search overall and my abilities as a researcher, writer and organizer but I don’t really know what I’d like to do long-term (other than changing the world, and working with community organizations). I feel I need a little more direction than just jumping from site to site looking for orgs where I value the mission and work that’s being done. Can you provide advice related to ways I can broaden my search and what I should consider when looking to work for a company long-term? Thanks so much.

Short Answer: You don’t need to pick the rest of your life today. Take some chances.

Longer Answer:

You’re such a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed recent grad. I remember the days. Gotta love it.

Seriously though, part of the job search involves jumping from site to site looking for organizations with missions you believe in and work you find interesting — particularly when your goal/interest is as broad as “changing the world.” And if you’re not jumping from site to site, you’re emailing or meeting with people in different lines of work to build a network, learning what they do, and ringing the alarm that you’re interested in hearing about different opportunities. So regardless, you’re doing a lot of professional calisthenics (and research).

Also, you’re probably familiar with sites like Idealist and Devex for non-profit jobs, and Indeed for general opportunities; but if you’re not, get on them! These sites allow you to set up job alerts to keep you in the loop about what’s new. You should also check out ReWork. They have access to some cool gigs for people that wanna make a difference.

And when you do see a job that sounds interesting, you should head over to LinkedIn and run a search for that job title and company. (LinkedIn is a great Career Consultant!) You’ll find people that hold the title now or held it in the past. Then you can look at their career path(s) and get a snapshot of what it really takes to do the job, and what other opportunities will be available in that line of work. I could go on and on about this, but I’m gonna let you get lost in the site researching job titles at different companies. It’ll be worth it. You’ll find companies and opportunities you didn’t even know existed. 

As for advice on what to consider when looking to work for a company long-term, I could tell you all about 401K, company goals over next 3-5 years and financial stability, the importance of having a good manager, and so on. But you really need to think about opportunities for growth — both professionally and personally. What will you learn and what happens when you’re ready to learn more? How can the skills you acquire be transferred to other roles? Because honestly, after two to three years (maybe less), you’ll most likely be ready for the next thing. And what you think is the next thing today probably won’t be the next thing tomorrow. I can almost guarantee it because:

Career progress isn’t always linear.

Good luck and may your positive attitude guide you to your next opportunity!

Slightly salty about my lack of youth,


Got career questions? Submit them through my contact form as “I Need Your Advice.”

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