When I was a child, I wanted to be a dentist. Then I changed it to a pediatrician, and then a nurse. When I was growing up, my family always taught me the importance of working hard and going to college, so I went to college for nursing, but then decided to change majors.
I say all that to show that it’s normal to not know what to do and change your mind a lot when it comes to careers, especially after graduating from high school. It took me several years after college and working different jobs to figure out what I like and want to do. That is why trying on jobs before committing is such an excellent idea. Here are some different ways to do it:
- With job shadowing, the job seeker gets to be around the person that is in the actual profession that they are interested in, and can ask any questions that they may have. Job shadowing usually is a few days, but no longer than a week.
- Volunteering is a good way that a lot of people end up landing a job that they really love, and it’s a really great networking opportunity. A lot of organizations are looking for volunteers. A great website to use is Volunteermatch.org, or you can look to volunteer at your local Goodwill.
- An internship is another way to try a job before committing. Internships can be done during high school or college, or while working a different job if your schedule permits. Internships usually last 2-4 months, and allow job seekers to get hands-on experience. Some internships may even be paid; most offer at least educational credit. Two good websites to find internships are Indeed.com and Internships.com.
- Externships are similar to internships in that they’re short-term chances to experience a job, but externships are usually much shorter and may not include hands-on experience. Externships.com is a good place to learn more and find opportunities.
Networking online and at in-person career events is a good way to find opportunities to try out jobs. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for connecting with professionals that are in an area of interest; even if the people you connect with can’t help directly, they may be able to put you in the right direction. You never know who has the connections you need.