You’ve always known that you wanted a career in business, but how do you figure out exactly what your place is there? Maybe you want to be an entrepreneur or the CEO of a multinational company, but that’s not everyone’s dream. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more low stress but still engaging. The tips below can help you figure out where you belong and what kind of career path will make you happy.
Getting an Education
There are many great things about going to school, but one of the best is that it really gives you a chance to find out about different concentrations within the field of business and see what really interests you. Remember as well that there are sub-fields as well. You may love finance, but do you want to be a trader, an accountant, a financial planner, or something else?
You may want to choose a particular concentration at some point, but even if you do, try to take a wide variety of classes in order to get a good overview of what’s out there. In addition, be sure to take some classes that emphasize written and spoken communication whether they are in or out of your major. To pay for your degree, keep in mind that you can get a student loan from a private lender. This can often supplement or replace federal aid or other sources of funding.
Being as well-rounded as you can be is the name of the game here, this is a great way to invest in yourself, and college is a great time to take advantage of that. Both clubs and organizations related to your future career aspirations and those connected to other interests you have can build your leadership and networking skills as well as your knowledge. In addition, look for opportunities to attend conferences or conventions about your career area of interest, both online and offline. You might want to look into studying abroad as well. Some language and living experience in another culture can enhance your resume. Finally, try to pick up some volunteer work or an internship.
College is a great time to get to know yourself better, and as you’re learning more about who you are, think about how that relates to the type of job that you want to have. For example, maybe you always imagined that you’d work in a fast-paced, high prestige environment, but what you’re learning is that you are a lot lower key than that and might be happier with a quieter occupation. On the other hand, perhaps you never had any particular ambitions beyond getting a good enough job to afford the things that you want but you’ve discovered a real passion for a particular specialty, such as marketing. Try not to lock yourself into any particular path too early. This is a time of real growth and change, and what you want after four years of college may look very different from what you wanted when you first started out.
Your First Job
You might know exactly where you want to work and may aggressively pursue a position there after graduation, or you might just try to get a lot of different interviews and hope for a good offer. Whatever approach you take and whatever happens, it’s highly unlikely that you will land in your dream job from the start. Instead, think of this as an opportunity to get your feet wet in the full-time work force and to start to learn the conventions of the business world.
You’ll also start to get a sense of the kind of work culture that you prefer. For example, some places may be more informal than others. Some may be tight knit while coworkers may stay more distant at others. Some may encourage to people to work long, hard hours while others might emphasize work-life balance. At this stage in your career, almost everything can be an education, even a bad job, so learn as much as you can but don’t be afraid to move on if it isn’t right for you.
It might take this long for you to really gain the experience that you need to start setting concrete goals. Think in terms of specific time frames, such as one year or five years, and set measurable targets. Periodically review your goals to see if you are on track or you need them changed.