Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How Do You Know if the Jobs a Fit?

I never thought I would be in sales. My concentration is operations, and my work experience has been in marketing, management, nonprofits, service, and logistics. Just last summer I was looking into human resources or supply chain work, yet I’m currently in a sales internship that I really enjoy, at a company I can see myself at after graduation.

In my journey to figure out what I wanted, I consoled my 24 year old sister. She graduated and went into what she thought was her dream job. She quickly learned the job was not for her, so she left after five months. She moved from a position in international education to human resources, however the environment of the company she went to wasn’t good. So she left after three months, and took another human resources role somewhere else. For her, third time was the charm. She has been at her current company, working as a human resources compensation analyst for a year and a half, and has no intention of leaving.

I recently asked her how she knew to pursue human resources, even though her first job and what she thought she wanted to do throughout college was international education. She told me she had printed out her resume, high school transcript, and college transcript, and laid them out in front of her. She then marked up all three papers, highlighting the things she liked and the things she was good at. Not what she wanted to be good at, such as coding, sales, public speaking, but what she was actually good at, such as numbers, time management, and working on teams.

For her, this helped break the broad labels she had put on certain industries and roles. Especially as a business major, she got so caught up in working in a “cool” industry with a “reputable” title that she idealized the realities of her strengths. By really reflecting on what she was genuinely good at now, as opposed to sticking with what she thought she wanted in college allowed her to finally find a job and environment that fit.

I’m currently working as a recruiting intern at a staffing firm called ALKU. When I first started, the idea that I’m not a sales person was holding me back from appreciating how much I enjoyed the job. For whatever reason, just because I don’t fit the typecast sales persona, and haven’t been pursuing sales since freshman year made me think it was not a role I could end up in. As the internship progressed, and after speaking to post grads like my sister who have gone through similar things, I’ve realized that what you’ve done in the past doesn’t matter. If you like a job, like a company, and can see yourself succeeding there, who cares if you change your trajectory? At the end of the day, you can’t plan your career to a T. So don’t idealize certain jobs until you try them, and hold onto those you like, even if it steers you down a new path.