In order to start your career, you need to do a few things first. Here’s what I’ve learned in building my business in my twenties (and my highs, lows, and in-betweens):
1. Create a list of goals (present and future).
As simple as this sounds, the act of physically, tangibly creating goals will not only motivate you, but help you to see the forward progression between where you are, and where you want to go. Grounding yourself in a list will help you to focus on the long-term, while also inspiring you to move forward with specific times you’re wishing to accomplish, rather than one overarching ‘ideal’ that seems distant and unapproachable.
Your goals can also help you to rise to the occasion, being the push you needed to really step forward and make progress, rather than waiting for the ‘right time’ or ‘perfect moment’ (which, in actuality, does not exist.) Having a list of goals can help you see both the smaller steps and the larger whole, giving you the motivation to move forward with purpose, rather than indecision.
2. Focus on what makes you marketable.
There is a difference between something you’re good at, or passionate about, and something that makes you marketable. Being marketable is taking the skills and joy you have for something and focusing on how you can sell yourself, your products, your ideas, your services as an entity in your particular career field.
What is something that sets you apart? Something that defines your ‘brand’? If you were to sum your vision up into a sentence, what would that sentence be? And what does that sentence say about you? When you think about how you can market yourself, your skills, your expertise, etc. you change from simply putting work out into the world to building your career.
Jump on LinkedIn and connect with people in your career field. Find connections from previous jobs and see if you can request a review, engage with their content, leave them a note on their profile, etc. Go back through contacts and reach out to people you knew from school; reach out to strangers on social media and comment on the content that resonates with you the most. Offer to collaborate or to a share-for-share media post with other creatives/persons in your field. Tweet, direct message, care.
The more connections you build, the more opportunities will open for you. The more people you know and talk to, the more the word will get out about who you are and what you can bring to the table, interpersonally and professionally.
4. Build a professional page.
I cannot stress this enough. In order to be taken seriously (especially in a creative/arts field) building a professional portfolio is a must for showcasing your skill. Whether this manifests into a physical folder of which items are photographed and hosted online, a blog, a Facebook page, website, online gallery, etc. make sure that you are creating a space for yourself on the internet. The online community will help tremendously to start your career, audience, and interest.
5. Make a schedule (and stick to it).
Whether you’re building a brand or starting a new business venture, beginning a side hustle or moving into a different line of work, it’s important to hold yourself accountable in these transitions.
When you’re moving from one career to the other, it’s hard to juggle (or self-motivate). To help you, create a schedule. Perhaps this outlines the time you spend applying to companies, sending out freelance pitches, researching new jobs in your area, working on your website, etc. Whatever you need, create and organize within the parameters of a schedule so that you are constantly moving forward and staying on track. And if you need #plannerinspo, check out this ‘Get Sh*t Done’ planner I love!
6. Put yourself out there professionally.
You cannot sit on the sidelines, hoping for an opportunity without making any forward moves. If you’re interested in writing for a company, research their contact information and find how you can send a pitch. If there’s a position you think you’d be a great fit for, write up a cover letter and set it to their HR or main contact person. There’s never anything wrong with being (productively) aggressive (remember – the worst someone can say is no!) and wouldn’t it be far better to try than to miss an opportunity or wonder what could have happened?
No one is going to advocate for yo. and wouldn’t it be far better to try than to miss an opportunity or wonder what could have happened?
No one is going to advocate for you or sell you. You have to be confident and persistent in pursuing what you think would be a good fit. Don’t be afraid of your own voice or skills. Go after what feels right.
7. Build from your passions.
Take the things you love doing/creating and use them to start your career. Perhaps you’re not going directly into a line of work that uses your passions—don’t let that discourage you! Find ways to incorporate what you love into your daily tasks, or pursue a career-related side hustle. If you’re going into something that does use your best and most fulfilling skills, find ways to really broaden your creative horizons. Challenge yourself. Think of longevity—how can you continually grow from this moment forward.
Featured Image Credit: Thought Catalog