Before I get into this post, I’d like to offer a disclaimer. I am not a career counselor. This is just a reflection ten years after my undergraduate graduation (wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long!).
So let’s travel back in time to 2006. I was on my second university for undergrad, and my third major. I was a geology-turned art education-turned art history student, ready to dive into my last three classes to earn my degree. I’d come to think of one of my professors as a mentor, and often went to him when I had questions of a studious nature.
Until one day, when my questions shifted to what would come next after college. I’ll never forget what he said to me.
He told me I should be teaching Art History.
I was ecstatic. To have a professor I respected–who held two Ivy league degrees in my chosen field–tell me that I should teach it was a great honor.
Then he continued. He told me how the job market was so tough that getting tenure anywhere was going to be virtually impossible. And at the time, pursuing a terminal graduate degree in Art History meant a PhD. That’s an awful lot of work for the suggestion that there wouldn’t be a job on the other side of it.
So when my father offered me a position at his insurance agency, I jumped at the chance.
Turns out insurance sales are not really my thing. So then I had to face down the question that all college grads (or soon to be grads) must attempt to answer:
What can I do with my degree? What do I want to do with it?
Some college programs are pretty straight forward. If you go to med school, it’s because you want to be a doctor. Not a lot of guesswork there. If you get your degree in Business, chances are you’re headed for an office job.
Liberal Arts can be tricky though. Especially for true creatives, because many job descriptions list creativity as a required skill but don’t actually provide the opportunity to utilize it. I can tell you from my last ten years out of college that finding a job that is truly creative is difficult. That doesn’t mean you should give up, though.
Remember this: No matter where you end up, it’s okay if you don’t land your dream job right out of college. In fact, it’s unlikely that you will. When I was in college, the statistic was that the average adult had nine different careers over the course of her or his life. Perhaps that has shifted somewhat in the last decade, but either way, finding a job that allows you to pursue your purpose can take some trial and error.
I didn’t discover my love for writing until my last semester of undergrad. I didn’t determine my purpose until right before I started graduate school, some seven years after that. Sometimes, finding one’s purpose takes time and maturity. Other times it can strike fast.
Incidentally, my purpose is to inspire and inform through the written word.
Where then, do you turn to find the sort of job that might fit your purpose–especially if you haven’t yet found it?
4 Sites to Start Your Creative Job Search
You have sites like CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and Indeed. Chances are your school also has a job board. You should utilize all of those. However, sometimes the more creative jobs don’t post on those sites, so you have to go elsewhere. Hopefully the following list will give you some places to springboard your search.
Good luck in your search. Don’t give up hope. Don’t settle unless you need to for financial reasons, and then even if you do, keep up the search. In my house we always had a saying: “If you throw enough mud at the wall, eventually some of it will stick.”