The first three questions that lead to career success have nothing to do with companies, sectors, or job openings. The right way to start your discovery is looking inward. Ask yourself:

  1. What am I curious about?
  2. What do I already know I’m interested in?
  3. What experiences have I had that produced the greatest learning?

Because finding a job may be a zig-zag process of scouring job boards, networking with alumni and other contacts, conducting informational interviews, writing and revising your resume and cover letter, interviewing, and waiting for responses, you need a vision of yourself that can help you be patient, resilient, and self-motivated. That’s why knowing what you want – what you really, really want – is the most significant factor in your getting exactly that. Hence, the three questions that lead you to self-awareness.

While your first job may not reflect everything you want, you do need an internal compass that drives you to start the search by looking for meaningful work. That meaning is not going to come from external sources, although if you know what you want your search will naturally help you home in on the clues that eventually lead you to choosing – and being selected for – the closest match you can find.

Sometimes, you need a kickstart. On Handshake, you’ll find a link to – a site that can get your curiosity and reflections started. That will lead you to companies that are in the sectors that spark your curiosity and help you connect your past experiences to new opportunities.

Next Steps:

  1. Journal your answers to the three questions.
  2. Review the sectors, job descriptions, and duties for each job that you find on Vault.
  3. Get on Handshake, LinkedIn, and specialty job boards to activate your job search.
  4. Keep your journal going as you zig-zag through your career discovery and remember to review it from time to time so you keep moving in the direction of success!