Imagine you are at the car lot to end all car lots. Every car known to man is available for purchase. The salesman asks you which car you want. Money is not a concern when purchasing this car. Take a moment to picture in your mind your ideal car. On a sheet of blank paper, describe this car.
Looking at your car description, take note of a few items. Does your description name the make and model of the car? Did you include model year or exterior color? Have you gone as far as to think about the interior material, rim size, and any additional desired upgrades? If you were to describe your ideal car to the salesperson at the car lot would they be able to clearly understand and picture the vehicle you are imagining?
At some point in your college career you will probably be asked the question, “What do you plan to do with your degree?” or “What type of job are you looking for after graduation?” Your ability to clearly and specifically answer these questions will determine the level to which the person asking the questions can help you in your job search. The first step in any job search is to define your objective. If you aren’t certain of the type or even types of positions you want, how can you go about effectively searching for jobs, networking with potential employers, or soliciting support from friends, family, and faculty?
Just like knowing the specifics of your ideal car can help your salesman locate it, knowing your career objective will help your target audience, those in the position to help you reach your goals, be able to connect you with desired opportunities.
As you develop your career objective think about the following criteria:
- What industry do you want to work in? Examples: Manufacturing, Banking and Finance, Logistics, Healthcare, Retail, Education, Hospitality, Agriculture, Real Estate, etc.
- What kind of role do you want to play? Examples: Research and Development, Consulting, Design, Engineering, Business Management, Service, Accounting, etc.
- Would you prefer to work with a smaller or larger company?
- Is your ideal job located in a certain part of the country?
- Are you looking for a company that offers a certain salary or benefits? Examples: Affordable Health Insurance, 401k Matching, On-Site Childcare Options, Flexible Work Hours, Bonus Pay, Tuition Reimbursement, an Employee Gym, etc.
- What are the key skills and qualifications you can offer a potential employer?
Next time you are asked the once dreaded questions, “What do you plan to do with your degree?” or “What type of job are you looking for after graduation?” you can respond with more than the quick, vague default answer, “A good job.”