Over the past 12 months, we have had to adapt to new ways of working and change the way we interact with each other. The new ways of working may be temporary, or it may become the new norm. For students in secondary school, college, or university this change may make the decision process on what career path to follow and where to start once your studying has completed, more difficult. When I was making these decisions 22 years ago, there were limited approaches available. I sought guidance from attending graduate fairs, talking to career advisors, or just applying for an opportunity with a number of recruitment companies who were offering a graduate scheme. The biggest challenge was, despite graduating with a Business and Information Technology Degree, I had no clue what career I wanted to pursue. In fact, 22 years later the successful career I have now forged as a Project Manager was not the one I would have imagined for myself.
Recently, I had the pleasure in taking part in a virtual education event for the Association for Project Management at Coventry University for their #GetGraduateReady week. I represented my company – Methods – and talked about my career and the types of companies and business sectors I have worked in.
I graduated from Coventry University, so it was a real pleasure to return and share my experience with them. The students were able to ask questions about how my career had developed from graduation to today. I described my career journey, where I started, how one job led to another, different experiences, challenges and highlights. In addition to the technical project management skills I had gained e.g. methodologies, process and procedures, I talked about the soft skills e.g. communications, influencing and team management. An important message I gave was, things can change so you have to adapt, take advantage of new opportunities and try things.
Today students cannot rely on casual, informal, adhoc conversations about people’s careers and experiences. However, students do have access to a rich source of ubiquitous career data via the internet. In addition, there are a number of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, or specialist professional forums like APM or Microsoft Certifications.
For some students this vast amount of information can be overwhelming, and they will still need guidance on where to start. I hope sharing my experience, talking about the different business sectors will help them identify where to look, what to apply for and more importantly to try things out and adapt as new opportunities arise.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.