College grad in need of motivation? 5 steps to help.
If your job search is stalled, read on . . .
You’ve done it! You’ve graduated college and are ready for the next step. But the energy stops there. Is a voice inside your head telling you . . .
- You’ll never find a good job
- Go ahead and watch just one more Netflix episode . . .
- Why change? Life is good at home with someone cooking and cleaning!
- You’ll never be successful and that will be humiliating. Why bother to try?
- It is all too overwhelming!
Here’s what you need to know. You are OK. Everyone has THAT voice. There is nothing wrong with you. You will be a well-functioning adult with the success you wish someday. Yes, YOU.
You are a fully-formed adult with your own set of values. You have opinions and you know what feels good and what feels right as well as what doesn’t. You made it through school (and all its distractions) and learned many things. At school, they may have even taught you how to search for a job. But here’s the thing . . . they taught everyone the same process for a job search, and yet, you are all different.
You are unique and so is the path you will take moving forward. No cookie cutter set of to dos (other than the fundamentals) is going to help you find that great opportunity for you and you alone.
Your parents think they have the answers. Your friends offer advice. But deep inside, YOU have the answer. Truly. You are naturally creative and resourceful. You have what it takes to move forward and find the right path. You just can’t see it clearly right now and you are NOT ALONE. Thousands of grads are (or have been) where you are right now. Phew! Doesn’t that feel good to know?
What can you do?
- So take a step forward– in ANY direction. Start doing SOMETHING. Volunteer, take a temporary job, take classes at a career center. Find a way to move ahead, actively engaging in activities that will bring you energy, joy and maybe a few bucks. Prime the pump! Starting a search from dead still is REALLY hard—but if you are in forward motion, it will be easier.
- Start talking with people about what they do. Everyone likes to talk about himself or herself. Get names of your friends’ fathers & mothers, aunts & uncles, etc. And when they ask why you want to meet, tell them you are exploring career options and you would value hearing about their experience. That way, you put them at ease (you aren’t asking them for a job) and they feel honored to be asked. Just bring a notebook and a pen, no resume. Ask what they like about their work. Who do they feel their work is in service of? What keeps them motivated? How did they find that job? You want to find the answers that resonate with who YOU are and make note of them. You may learn a new perspective on finding work.
- Start exploring what you like to do! Think about it . . . What do you do when you have a little time on your hands? What do you day-dream about? What sites do you peruse on the internet (careful here ha ha)? What did you want to be when you were young? Tap into and explore those dreams. Let your mind wander and then just write down what comes to mind.
- Ask yourself—If I could do anything I wanted, 5 days a week, in service to others, what would I want to do?” Just write down what would feel good. Follow the energy–write the words that come to mind without judgment or edits. Review the notes from your meetings and write those things that resonated with you.
Now put all your writing away for a day or so. Let your mind IMAGINE life in pursuit of an activity that brings you joy and dare I say, fulfillment?
5. Review what you’ve written and thought about. Are there any themes? Patterns? Are you inspired to explore a path more deeply? What words or sentences bring you energy and what kills it? Now read it through again, focusing with your heart and your gut rather than your head. Any ahas? What’s underneath? What possibilities do you see?
Here’s what you may find . . .
- You gain clarity in what avenue you wish to pursue.
- You may make some great contacts with folks that could be a resource.
- You will earn a few bucks or prime the pump for your search.
- You will feel a sense of accomplishment.
- You will feel better about yourself.
And if you are still in need of support and guidance, consider using a life or career coach. Honestly, they can help you decipher your best direction very effectively and in an enjoyable way. You will feel seen, heard and respected (and they won’t give you advice) and you will find your answers more easily and comfortably.