Starting the Search for Your Dream Job

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? Where do you see your career going? If you haven’t been asked these questions by your parents or gym teacher yet, expect them.

Your parents, guidance counselors and other caring adults in your life want you to do well for yourself as you become an adult. But have you considered which jobs you’d like in the future? Have you started looking into industries that interest you? Do you know where to begin? All you have to do is start looking.

That’s what I did when I was in high school, but my idea of a dream job didn’t become clear until after college. I knew that I wanted to study sociology and help people, even though I was encouraged to study business or physics by others in my life. While both are impressive fields, there was no desire within me to pursue either one. “What are you going to do with a sociology degree?” was a frequently asked question. But what they didn’t understand was that I knew my options because I did my research. Simply put, sociology is the study of societies and how people govern one another, and I saw its potential in my life as a possible career choice.

Finding the Right Path
Through research I learned that sociology is a great foundation for law school and that it can also lay the groundwork for anyone who wants a career in human services. I knew that with this field of study under my belt, I would have opportunities to help people who are dealing with homelessness, domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health issues or other prevalent issues in our society. The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a great resource that helped me focus in on my niche, and could help you, too. My options were endless between volunteer services, criminal justice, youth and senior services, public relations — and this was just a fraction of the possibilities.

While I was in college, I attended career fairs and inquired which companies and organizations would consider hiring employees with sociology degrees, taking my time to browse through the occupations that appealed to me. Even though I was a career nomad and was also freelance writing part time, there were times when I felt professionally stuck. I knew that the companies I worked for were beneficial but they weren’t going to be a permanent solution. I was too determined to remain content — I needed to get my foot in the door on the road to career compassion.

Persistence is Key
Since there were no open positions in my desired human services organization, I decided to volunteer. If there were networking events or workshops being offered, I would show up and mingle with the employees. Volunteering isn’t just working for free. It’s donating your time, learning the work culture and most importantly, networking. After all, when a position suddenly opens while you’re volunteering, you may be the first person they ask before posting the job online. Your experience volunteering can only help to impress the hiring directors.

Don’t give up if it takes a while to find your dream job. Stay on top of volunteer opportunities with companies you’re interested in. Tailor your resume to show how multi-faceted you are as a professional and learn about your company and its mission statement. Really analyze if you can fill the role they are looking for. Most importantly, do your research and spend the time to find a career that will be the right fit for you.

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