A View from the Top: I don’t know what I want to do

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Bentley boasts an excellent track record at helping our undergraduates and graduates move onto full time employment, and often students who are not firmly on the job path may worry that they are being left behind. Career advice sites often add to this confusion by telling you to follow your passion, or to do what you love.

But what if your only passion is watching Housewives from Atlanta?

What if you love everything, and are interested in a ton of things?

This is not unusual. Many individuals fall into their current career paths. At the end of fall semester, 2013 I asked students in several of my classes to interview three individuals (each) about how they selected their career path.

In this (highly) unscientific fashion over 100 people were interviewed. Of those 100+ people less than half ended up in the career path they originally selected. In fact, 70% reported that they ended up doing something different than they first expected.

So, what should you do if you have not yet decided what you want to do after you graduate? You may find solace in following these steps.

  1. Know what your skills are. If you are terrific at building relationships with strangers do not try to force yourself into a role where you have limited interactions with others. Find out what kinds of jobs require relationship building skills by speaking with Career Services and conducting informational interviews.
  2. Know what size company you would like to work for. Are you interested in potentially working abroad? Do you want to work in a smaller company where you can have more impact? Do you want to work in a startup environment or do you prefer organizations who have established processes?
  3. 3. Start asking questions. Ask others for informational interviews in order to understand the ins and outs of their jobs. Try to imagine yourself in those roles. Ask them what the best part of their job is, but also ask them what the worse part of their job is. If you have an internship ask your supervisor if he/she can suggest any other individuals for you to interview.   Try and conduct two or three of these discussions a month, and pay attention to what attracts you. Breaks are an ideal time to conduct these discussions.
  4. Relax, at least a little. You may well end up one of the people who wanders into their career. I certainly did, and it has not limited my career. On the contrary, I welcome the fact that my career path led me through a few side journeys. You may be best served by finding a company that shares your values, and that interests you. From there, speak with your hiring manager and your HR department to learn about open roles that might be good fits for you.

You are encouraged to send questions directly to me at e.walker@bentley.edu or to visit me at 310 Adamian. Or simply bookmark this blog which will occur on a regular basis. In our next blog we’ll discuss how to capitalize on the upcoming Career Fair.

By Elaine Walker
Elaine Walker Lecturer Elaine Walker