The question that many new MMs are faced with regularly is pretty common in our society: “So what do you want to do?” Most of us have a pretty good defense sound byte that we can repeat on command but what we’re really thinking is “I’m not sure – that’s why I’m here!” Obviously this isn’t true for all of us, but it sure was for me.
Much of the way we are classified in terms of our future career is based on what industry we each want to work in. For certain industries you write different cover letters, focus your resume to highlight particular traits and attend industry-based info sessions. For me, one of the toughest parts of the job search has been figuring out what industry I want to work in in the first place! The trick, in my experience, has been diffusing the concept of “industry” and looking at the problem with both macro- and micro-scopic lenses.
I had the chance to be a part of the MM crew that participated in Trek Toronto only a few weeks ago to meet with companies in the downtown for four days of info session-style events. After seeing a dozen companies – some of which were in the same industries – I can tell you that my logic in choosing the “industry” I wanted to work in was flawed as a result of one assumption: that all companies within an industry are roughly the same. As it turns out, they can be vastly different. This was news to me. Learning this first hand in Toronto helped me realize that my employment search should be undertaken at the level of the company and not the industry.
This realization brought me to my next set of questions: “What kind of companies do I really want to be a part of? What things will I value the most in the first part of my career?” Through this reasoning and a little self-reflection, I discovered that I am, above all, longing to work for a company with a fast paced, strong entrepreneurial culture where I can exercise my creative skills, take initiative in providing excellent deliverables and be accountable for the quality of my work. Guess what? This culture is not limited to any one industry. In fact, I saw it first hand in Toronto at Deloitte and Google, among other companies. As a result, I’m currently scouring the earth for organizations in several industries that claim to sustain this cultural environment along with a healthy opportunity for experiential learning. I just narrowed my search and I’m feeling pretty good about it because now, in response the question “So what do you want to do?” I can answer straight from the heart.
If you’re leagues ahead of me at this point and you already know all of this stuff, then thanks for reading this far. You’re a champ. For everybody else, the lesson that I learned is simple: in order to find a really great job you have to know yourself, you have to know what’s out there and you have to show exactly who you are to the employers that you think align with your values. To any current, past or future job seeker, MM or not, my advice is to take any opportunity possible to get out there and actually see what companies are really made of! Trek Toronto was my wake up call and thankfully the BCC was there to provide that experience.
– Adrian Dingle