Countless young people start their career with something they are not sure about. That’s okay! We all start from somewhere. While some are able to find a path to happiness, most professionals are not able to figure out what they want out of their career. And how to get what they want.
Consequently, they end up getting stuck in careers and jobs that do not make them happy.
There is a solution out there! And that is communication.
Early in careers, you should talk to people who are five years senior to you in different industries. These are called informational interviews.
You talk to them, learn about their work, learn what an average day or week is like in their job, what are the challenges and opportunities in the career they pursue, how they reached where they are today, what skills make one successful in that profession, etc.
30-minute chats on phone or over coffee to this end is going to be of a great learning experience. Many mid-career professionals will be more than happy to meet you or talk to you. Also, learn to take no. For different reasons, some may not be able to oblige with time.
These people could be found from anywhere – connecting someone on LinkedIn, or your college alumni or friend, or friend of a friend. Key is – do not hesitate in asking for help. Unless you say you need help, no one will know it!
Such chats with people from a spectrum of careers will give you a good grasp of where you stand and where you want to be. Moreover, speaking to people that you know so little about will boost your confidence in asking the right questions, of having a sense of inquiry, of being a sincere student.
Further, these chats are called informational interviews. If the chats go well, and they like you, then, of course, they will remember you.
When you do finally decide to pursue a career in the company or industry of any of these mentors, they would be instrumental in helping you get your foot in the door or keeping an eye for the right opportunity for you.
Good luck with your first coffee chat!