Find inspiration in what other people do - but you don't have to do the same
When we worked on what motivates you, we wrote that your program doesn't educate you for anything specific. That is important to remember, but we understand if it doesn't make you feel better. So now it is about where you can get some inspiration for what you can do.
Looking at what other people with the same background as you are doing will hopefully help you see new opportunities. But it is important not to let it limit your perspective. It's for inspiration. What other people can do is not all that you can do.
Who do you know? And who knows them?
Do you know someone who is doing something exciting or has studied something similar to you? Or does someone in your network?
What do they do? How did they get there? Ask them and get them to explain how they got there. What did they think about when they were in the same situation that you are in now? What did they do? Do they have any advice for you? What does it take to get to where they are? What would they have done differently if they had the chance?
Looking back, it can be easy to see the path that led us to where we are now. But in reality, we often end up somewhere else through a windy, unpredictable road.
Use your network to gain knowledge and inspiration, but remember to take it with a grain of salt. You choose your own path. Take what you can use.
Use LinkedIn as inspiration
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, it might be a good idea to get one. You can use it for many things, such as finding inspiration for possible career paths.
You can use LinkedIn a little like Google. In the search field, you can enter an educational program, job title, or keyword related to a work area. The results will be people who have written that in their profile. Then you can see people who have studied the same thing as you and see what they are doing now. You can also see what other educations or jobs they have had. This can give you some inspiration for places, titles, and types of work that you can also do.
Are you curious? Ask questions!
Found someone interesting and want to know more about their work or how they got there? Ask them! Most people love when other people find them interesting and would like to help if anyone needs it. Even if they are strangers. But we won't help with everything.
You are at a party with a lot of people you don't know. Someone comes up to you and asks what you do. You tell them about it and they answer: “That sounds great, I’d also like to do that. Can you get me a job?” How would you react? You would probably think: “That was rude, I don’t know you at all. I don't want to talk to you anymore.” That’s how most people would react.
Now imagine this:
Instead of asking you for a job they replied: “Wow, that sounds really interesting. What’s it like working there?” or “How did you get there?” or “What skills does is take to be able to work there?” How would you react then? You might think, "What a nice person who's so interested in learning more about me. I don't mind talking to them some more." That's the reaction we want. And that person might want to help you later on.
That's also the case outside parties. We want to talk to people who are interested in us, but not if it's just to get a job. We like to share our knowledge, though.
What about a coffee meeting?
Have you found someone insteresting that you would like to ask some questions? Write them and suggest a meeting. These are often called ‘coffee meetings.’ It's important that the person you want to meet can see the purpose of meeting with you. We often see the value in helping others with their personal development but not if we sense ulterior motives. It's important for you to know exactly what you want to get out of the meeting. It's information and knowledge, not a job.
Be curious. You can ask questions about what is happening in the field, skills that are in demand, programs you should know about etc. Everything is knowledge you can use.
What can you use your knowledge for?
By being curious and reaching out, you can get insider knowledge that can make it easier for you to target your job hunt to specific companies in your application and CV. You can show in your application that you know something about what is happening in the industry or that you have the skills they need. This will make you stand out from other applicants.