Career advice for the class of 2023: How to find a job you love

Monday, May 22, 2023

We can all agree that finding a fulfilling, well-paid job is a solid goal. The real question for the class of 2023 is: What’s your plan to get one?

If you are just applying to any jobs that sound sort of good, and giving it half-hearted enthusiasm, you might be wasting your time.

A lot of college grads take the same approach to their job search: They scroll, scroll, scroll job boards, then apply, apply, apply, said Gorick Ng, a Harvard career advisor and author of the book “The Unspoken Rules.” You may submit a dozen or a hundred applications — then wonder why you’re getting radio silence. It can be defeating and leave you feeling more directionless than ever.

What’s important, Ng and other career experts say, is that you don’t just look for a job, whether it’s your first or fifth. You have a strategy.

“When you’re first starting out, no one tells you about how you need to take ownership of your career trajectory,” Ng wrote in an advice column for CNBC.

3 question to ask yourself when you start job hunting

“Securing a job is like walking into a grocery store: You’re more likely to walk out with what you want if you walk in with a list,” Ng said.

He recommends asking yourself a few questions before you start:

  1. “Where do I actually want to work?”
  2. “What do I actually want to do?”
  3. “Where do I actually want to live?”

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, Ng says, then ask: “Who’s living the life I want to live in the future?” and “What did they do after college that put themselves on this path?”

Do some “serious LinkedIn research” to find those people and take notes on their career path and skills.

“If you don’t start with a plan of what you’re looking for, you’ll waste hours and hours aimlessly scrolling and end up with the same conclusion many job seekers come to — which is that everything looks appealing ... and yet everything looks unappealing,” Ng said. “That’s not where you want to be!”

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