Job listings are usually too vague about the actual work tasks, and too specific about the demands in regards to experience and education.
Rule of thumb: always apply, it’s up to the company to figure out if it’s a match or not. But clicking your way through a shitty recruitment system might not seem worth it if you’re not all that sure of your own interest, or the chance of getting an interview. So until WA.works reaches world domination, here are some guidelines for spending your time wisely:
Give up. JK. It’s hard, but not impossible, to find a relevant part time job. Most consultant agencies have summer trainee programs that can serve as a good entry. Start early and talk to company representatives when they visit your school. The competition is usually stiff, so make use of your network to get through the door. We also recommend looking towards startups. Salaries might be low (or non-existent) but your growth and résumé will definitely benefit more from this than spending the hours stocking shelfs at IKEA.
Evaluate if the position is a good start for growing competence and career. And first and foremost, figure out which one of those is most important to you. Some thrive in a smaller environment where they are challenged each day, while others are motivated by big organizations with more obvious career opportunities.
Nevertheless, find a place you can stay for a couple of years and don’t be too fussy about salary and their customer product. Your first job is all about getting to know your industry beyond profession, and building a solid foundation of the network you will use for the rest of your career.
What do you WANT to work with? After your first job you have a better understanding of what direction you want to take from here on. Now you can make conscious decisions on what kind of company you’d like to be a part of, and what role you want in that company.
What are factors that make you excited about a work place? Funny coworkers, new technology, responsibilities, salary, flexible hours? Some of these are possible to negotiate as part of your contract. Others are kind of a gamble, but a gamble that can be minimized by for example visiting the work place outside of the interview situation, or asking around in your network.
First management position usually comes to you through internal processes. It’s hard to get that kind of responsibility externally without having proved that you can handle it. But you can use your application text and interview to convince them about your leadership abilities. They are looking for someone that will be respected by the team, that you’re comfortable using management methods (what kind depends on position), and that you can guide the company through trends and opportunities that arises.
Nb! Education level (degrees and certifications) is either a strong influencer or a hard demand in this case.
You will get a new managing position through close relationships to customers and suppliers, recognition in your network, an impressive résumé that proves results over time and great references. Like in your second or third job, you are now in a better position to evaluate what’s important to you. While immediate industry knowledge have been a key factor for a long time, your management level might have exceeded that need at this point.
Many people who have had a great career choose to challenge themselves by venturing off on their own. This area of your life is very much about self-fulfillment and realizing goals and dreams.
For those of you who that are facing some of your final career decisions, it can be quite hard to know what the guys on the other side of the table are thinking. You have some of the best competence and experience on the market, but it might also be outdated if you have spent most of your recent years at one place. New employers are also concerned about your priorities at this point in your life; are you looking to have more free time or are you ready to pull up your sleeves and put in the hard work? This is something you have to evaluate for yourself as well, and figure out how you want your ambition level to be perceived in an interview.
And don’t worry, the companies that are looking for 25 year olds will not even invite you to an interview, so don’t feel you have to compete with their lifestyle and career ambitions. The companies that are interested in you want you for the mistakes you have made and learned from, the overview and calm you have in all situations, and the valuable relationships you have obtained over many years in the industry. But it is a good idea to freshen up on new technology before an interview to show that you still keep track of trends and developments!
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