What do you do when you aren’t sure what you want to do? Entering the workforce when you aren’t sure where you want to end up can be tricky. While sorting through your different options and what industry would be the best fit for your skill set and knowledge base, keep in mind a few points:
Network like it’s your job. Consider every interaction until you identify what you want to focus your job search on as a networking opportunity. Your friends and family are great resources for breaking into industries you may not have experience in and also for asking honest probing questions to figure out if your interests are a fit, or more importantly, ill-suited for a position. Whether you’re speaking to a friend, family member, or an acquaintance, it’s important that you maintain professionalism because you want the person you are seeking advice from to see you in a business setting, and view you as competent.
Be aware of your body language. Amy Cuddy gives a great TED talk on body language. She makes a great argument for power posing to build confidence to help you “fake it until you make it” but ultimately you want to “fake it until you become it.” While you’re figuring out where you want to end up, it’s imperative you are perceived as confident and a strong candidate to anyone you speak with.
Know your worth. Do an inventory of your strengths and skills that you bring to the table. Knowing your value will help you speak intelligently to future employers as well as while networking. Try and come up with 5 solid strengths that you could use to sell yourself in interviews and relevant interactions.
Do some housekeeping.
- Clean up your online image. Make sure your Facebook profile is completely private and your main photo is appropriate. Check your LinkedIn page and make sure your photo is a professional image; the one you want future employers to see.
- Make sure your voicemail and email addresses are professional. This should be pretty obvious but is something that is often overlooked.
It can be difficult to focus on your personal image and presentation when you aren’t sure what your job focus is, but during this ambiguous time it’s critical to maintain professionalism with everyone you come into contact with. Taking a little bit of time to think about how you want others to perceive you can lead to an enormous return on your investment in the end.
Have a question on how to brand yourself? Ask Carol, firstname.lastname@example.org, @CarolEichengrun, or connect with her on LinkedIn.