Going to college has become somewhat of a given for recent high school grads, but crossing the finish line is no easy task. If you make it all the way through, it’s time to put forth all efforts to finding that first job in hopes that it turns out to be your dream job (spoiler alert: it won’t be). Then you’ll end up dedicating all day every day for a couple of years to being successful in this role. Congratulations, you’re now a contributing member of society.
The bad news is, come to find out, you actually hate your job and the career path you’ve chosen. Solution: freak out and press the panic button...
Despite the sarcastic nature of my comment, that is unfortunately the route most people will take. Sadly pressing the panic button only leads to your eventual content busting your butt at a job you don’t enjoy for a company you don’t care about.
So what’s the good news? If you’d rather wake up every day and get paid to do something you love for a company you believe in, well then you can do just that! It won’t be easy and it won’t come overnight, but if you keep up the same level of hard work and dedication it took to get this far, you’ll without a doubt make it happen.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in Management Information Systems and a minor in Management. Turns out, I’m more the creative type than the number cruncher. So, I worked my tail off just to put myself in the position to become a professional photographer, and guess what, it worked! There will be plenty of frustrations and challenges along the way, but if you want to make a career change bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Here’s a few of tips from my experiences that’ll help those of you in need of a nudge in the right direction:
Study. Utilize every resource at your fingertips. This starts with the internet and literally doesn’t end because there are an unlimited number of outlets available for you to grow your knowledge and skills.
Practice. Then practice some more. Whether you want to take pictures like me, design logos, develop mobile app, become a chef, or any of the other million professions out there, you need to practice, fail, and learn from your mistakes before you can become an expert.
Network. Regardless of industry, there are so many professionals that you can learn from. Whether you’re introduced via a colleague, meet them at a networking event, or blindly reach out via LinkedIn, you’d be surprised how willing people are to lend a helping hand. Always remember to respect said person’s time, they’re busy just like you.
Promote. Build your brand by making a website for yourself so you can show off your work. Create a portfolio that you can send out in job applications. Hell, simply talking about your new career path with others is a great way to let this new passion consume you.
Apply. This is the moment you’ve been working towards and patiently waiting for. You won't find your dream job on the first day of your search, but you’re going to find it in time as long as you keep at it.
Please do share your experiences with me, I’d love to hear what all of you have been able to accomplish. Additionally, feel free to reach out if there’s anything I might be able to help out with. I know what it’s like to feel “stuck” in your career and know just as well how it feels to flip the script!