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How to discover your dream job: a guide

Have no idea what job you want? Here are some methods you can use to discover your dream job.
Written by
Ajay Prakash

Exploring Beyond Your Degree

Hey Everyone.

As someone who has had some of my best career opportunities come from unconventional places and has next to nothing to do with my degree, I wanted to do a small write up on how skills and experiences can be a doorway to new careers just as much if not more than your degree. I also wanted to give you actionable advice on how exactly you should be going out and exploring.

Who am I?

I’m Ajay. I founded a non-profit called Real Skills six years ago that has helped thousands of students land jobs. I have also applied for hundreds of jobs myself, and I’ve also been a recruiter, hiring for Draper Startup House, several engineering firms, and Crossover (which hires around 50-150 people per month).

I’ve tried to stay broad to help as many people as possible, but if you have specific questions I’ll try and help as much as I can in the comments.

Who is this for?

Anyone who is looking for a job, or looking to transition from one job to another.

You could be a student, grad, or perhaps you’ve decided you want to make a career change and have little experience in this new field.

Seminars / Workshops

Start attending seminars and workshops.

With COVID restricting physical meetups, the number of online events have skyrocketed. These are a low risk way to explore your options and see what's out there.

Data Science, Marketing, Neuroscience and many others -there is a plethora of events for you to attend. Have a look at websites such as Eventbrite and MeetUp to see what is around you.

It's a bit daunting but everyone is coming with an agenda so it's always easy to start up a conversation by asking them why they are there. It's how I learned a lot of new skills and now I end up doing a seminar/workshop on various topics at least once a fortnight.

Networking

I find that it's very difficult to build a relationship with someone when you're trying to get something from them. It comes across very poorly and transnational which is what most people do.

This is exactly why the best time to network is when you have nothing you need at the moment.

This can be daunting, in particular to university students, because we always feel we don't have much to offer people. Alas, I've heard this over 200 times. Not even exaggerating.

Here are three quick tips that can help you get over this:

  1. Focus on them. If you have nothing to offer then you should get them to talk about themselves and be genuinely interested in them. People like to talk about themselves - it's basic human nature. Building rapport with someone by being interested in them can go an extremely long way.
  2. You have more time. Compared to the people you want to connect with, you most likely have much more time available to you. Think about how you can use that to assist them. Volunteer your time or offer to shadow them /take notes for them in exchange for experience.
  3. Think about unique ways to provide value to them. Connect them with interesting people or show them articles or things they may not have seen.
This is exactly why the best time to network is when you have nothing you need at the moment.

Online Sources (Youtube, Udemy, and more)

You're already watching many many videos so its always good to explore more topics on Youtube that you might be interested in. I basically learned most of my university syllabus on Youtube and also developed an interest in so many new fields.

Personal finance gurus, marketing gurus and even things on startups can extremely mind-opening. The more of this content you consume, the more diverse your second-hand experiences.

If you struggle with accountability and find yourself falling off the productivity wagon often, EntryLevel (www.entrylevel.net) is a free alternative with cohort-based learning, so your peers can keep you motivated.

Be a Yes Person

Throughout the years, I've been a notorious yes man - i.e saying yes to every opportunity that has been thrown my way - meetings, companies, positions, and otherwise. Its been greatly beneficial but has also had its downs of burnout, letting other people down, and sometimes not being able to do what you said you were able to.

However, failure is a natural part of the learning journey and you won't know what your limitations and interests are unless you try a lot of things.

So after all of this and many negative experiences, I would still do the same thing all over again. The more time you have, the more reason to say yes and push yourself. Once you start recognizing your boundaries you can stay introducing no into your vocabulary. (This is what I'm transitioning into at the moment.)

Also, if you have any other tips - would love for you to share - tag us on LinkedIn at EntryLevel.

I was lucky in 2020, but for many job seekers, it was a really hard year. In turn, I want to pay it forward and help as many people as I can.

So, if you have any questions that myself or someone else in the community could answer, just tag us on social media and I’ll do my best to help!

Date originally published:
March 1, 2022
Date last updated:

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