Home » Careers » How to approach your career with a yes attitude

I should preface today’s post by saying that I am not an expert on careers advice; you should visit your university careers officer for that. But I can offer you some advice from my own experience….

Passion vs. ambition

Student career advice by Year of the Yes

I tend to think that generally people fall into one of two camps when they start out on the career (and probably swerve between them both as their career develops). You are either driven by passion and want a career that makes you leap out of bed in the morning, or you are driven by ambition and status and want to creep your way up the career ladder as quickly as possible.

Neither route is right or wrong, and they are very much interchangeable as you make your through your career. But I think it’s really important to decide where you are as a starting point. If you are clear about what your motivation is, it makes it much easier to channel your approach: if you are driven by passion it’s really important to find out what floats your boat from the beginning, to try different things and discover your true passion – whereas if it is a high-flying career you are after then it’s best to look for a larger company that can offer you a wide range of opportunities and experiences.

Say yes to experience

It probably won’t surprise you that part of my advice is to say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible in your early career. Experience is absolutely invaluable when you are starting out on the career path, whatever it may be. Even if it is just a day here and there. It shows commitment, a positive work ethic and initiative. So start looking for work experience, placements and internships as soon as you can – even if you are in your first year, use your holidays wisely to gain some experience.

Don’t be afraid to say no

That said, don’t be afraid to say no! If a job opportunity really doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t the one for you. Have the courage to recognise that. And even if you need to take it for financial reasons, keeping looking for the opportunity that really makes your heart sing.

Teach yourself

Student career advice by Year of the Yes

Depending on what career you are looking to get into, sometimes you can gain experience by yourself as well. Particularly if you want a creative career – build up a portfolio. For example, if you are keen for a career in digital marketing, start a blog and join the online community to share your work. You don’t have to produce anything that goes viral, but demonstrating that you are experimenting with the world that you want to inhabit will go a long way.

Get advice

Speak to people in industries that you are interested in. They will give you candid feedback and answer some of the questions that might still be leaving you undecided about whether a particular path is for you. I wanted to be a lawyer for a short period of time when I was longer, and after talking to family friends that were in the industry I quickly saw that it wouldn’t be the career for me – which saved a lot of time and Monday studying for my law conversion.

Polish your cv

Hand in hand with getting experience, is the art of honing your CV – there’s a great initiative called FutureLearn, which overs free online courses, including one to perfect your CV to help you net that dream job. It’s well worth enrolling and lapping up this advice. And while you are at it, peruse the other courses on offer because there might be something that will get you kick-started in your chosen industry.

Be patient

Student career advice by Year of the Yes

Finally, don’t sweat it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow – so you are likely to have a myriad of jobs throughout your career. No doubt some will follow very different paths and careers. The important thing is getting started and trusting your intuition.

A lifestyle blogger committed to encouraging everyone to live life to the full; try new things, push their comfort zones and spend more time doing the things they love with...
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