Career Counseling For Twentysomethings: Getting on your path asap

Denise graduated with a business degree and focus in marketing from one of Connecticut’s state schools.  She came to Career Counseling Connecticut for resume and cover letter help.  She wanted “a job”. This is understandable. But many of those unhappily trapped in a career path took “a job” that led to experience in that field and subsequently branded them as marketable only in that field.

Denise did have a distinct preference for an industry.  She has an interest in home goods.  Even as a young kid, she was interested in home decor.  She had several articles published in her school’s business journal about home goods. She read about the subject.  It was her work passion.

As I reviewed her list of cover letters, I found it curious that there were so few home goods companies on the list.  “I looked at Monster and Indeed to find job openings. That’s how I came up with the list.”  That list had a whole bunch of companies in industries where she had no interest.

“What if you got hired by one of those companies?”

“I guess I would take it but I wouldn’t be excited.”

I told her about one of my first clients from 15 years ago.  Lori was an English major from Penn.  Given her Ivy-league pedigree and the pre-Great Recession timetable, she was able to land a job with an investment bank. Why? Because that’s what a lot of her classmates desired and she was swayed by the prestige – as well as the money – of working at Goldman Sachs.  She would have preferred to work in publishing but, strangely enough, it was easier to get a job in finance.

As expected, she was a misfit for investment banking.  She had no interest in term sheets, cash flows, and other Excel spreadsheet work.  She put in two years because “that’s what you are supposed to do” and then applied to publishing houses.  The response: “you are a banker, why should we hire you?”

Lori – literally- knew nothing about investment banking until the day she interviewed with the bank.  She had spent her high school and college days immersed in reading/writing and delighting in all things related to publishing.  But now she was “a banker”.

Denise understood and we got to work immediately on finding her a position in the home goods industry.