How Can Grads Decide Which Jobs to Apply For?
Career advice expert and social influencer Shadé Zahrai shares her best tips.
You've spent the past four years working hard to get to this point, but now you're confused and asking yourself, "What job should I have?" Knowing how to figure out which jobs to apply for when you graduate college can feel as challenging as college itself. As confounding as it may be, there are some easy steps you can take that will help narrow down the most appropriate entry-level jobs for you.
To help you tackle this really important task, Monster partnered with career advice expert and social influencer Shadé Zahrai to share her tips that will set you up for success in your first job search. Zahrai, leader of Influenceo Global Inc., is an expert at adapting neuroscience and psychology into understandable and actionable strategies that will help you find a job that's the right fit and grow your career along the way. Below are the four questions to ask yourself to help determine which jobs to apply for.
What Am I Good At?
An obvious place to start is to reflect back on what you're innately good at. Maybe it's a skill that comes so naturally that it almost takes no effort, or maybe you've been able to develop skills in this space because of what you studied or from volunteer experiences or internships.
Think about your courses, projects, or clubs you might have been involved in. What did you do well? Were you good at working with people or even leading a team assignment? Do you have a knack for making sense of data and stats? Are you good at listening and asking questions? Take time to list what you're talented at. And even ask family and friends what they think you're good at. Their answers might even surprise you!
What Do I Like to Do?
This is a question that most people too often ignore or avoid throughout their careers. You see, when figuring out the kinds of jobs to apply for, most people only focus on what they're good at regardless of whether they enjoy it or not. And a lot of times they find themselves doing work that they're competent at, but it drains them. No wonder why many people who suffer from burnout end up being miserable in their careers.
So do yourself a favor and make time to reflect on what you find yourself really leaning into. What are your strengths that also strengthen you? It could be problem-solving, working through complex scenarios, working with technology, helping other people, or being creative and thinking outside the box. Think about your extracurricular activities, involvement in your fraternity/sorority, volunteer work, or internships you've had. What did you do well and enjoy the most and why?
It might take courage at first to be honest with yourself. Just remember, you're playing the long game so make sure you enjoy the journey along the way as much as possible.
What Do I Value in a Job?
Now you get to become really clear on what's most important to you. Let me tell you right now—this part is HUGE if you want to find the right jobs to apply for and a career path where you'll be happy and fulfilled because it's all about aligning your career with your values so that you can live with integrity.
What's most important to you at work? Is it the opportunity to collaborate with others? Financial security and being well-compensated? A sense of contribution or service to others? Flexibility and travel?
What many forget during interviews (because they're so desperate to get an offer) is that you're not just the interviewee. You also have an opportunity to "interview" the hiring manager about the organization's culture, work environment, or anything else that's important to you. You're also deciding whether it's a good match.
Starting full-time employment could feel like life as you know it is ending and that you're about to join the rat race. However, when you start getting clear about what you need to be your happiest, most fulfilled, and most authentic, then you'll seek out work that aligns with what will help you be happier overall.
What Opportunities Are Available to Me Based on My Previous Answers?
Now here's where your get to merge what you're good at, what you enjoy doing, and what you value most to give you clues and ideas of jobs and employers that allow you to bring your authentic self to work, leverage your existing skills and interests, and impact the environment you want to work in.
Remember, you'll be spending more waking hours at work than you will at home, so it pays to seek out what you'll enjoy and where your unique set of values can develop and shine.
Bear in mind, that at the early stages of your career, you're like a sponge—you have this unique opportunity to explore and absorb so much of what you experience. Even if you choose a path that you realize isn't the right one for you long term, think about what you can learn while you're there. Every experience will teach you something and help you learn more about yourself, while also making you a more well-rounded professional.
Now get out there and create new possibilities!
Find the Right Jobs to Apply for on Monster
The answer to "What job should I have?" says as much about you as it is about your career. Your job search is not just about finding any old job, it's about finding the job that's a good fit for you at this point in your life. Want some help with that? Get started by creating a free profile on Monster. You'll find lots of easy-to-use resources that can help you kick-start your career. Let's find you some great jobs to apply for today.