W. P. Carey Alumni Share 6 Tips for Finding Your Career Path

We asked W. P. Carey Alumni: What is your best advice for someone who is struggling to find their career path?

Here are the six tips they shared:

  • Follow Your Heart and Use Your Head
  • Find The Small Joys in The Work You Are Already Doing
  • Compare The Lifestyle You Want vs What You Enjoy Doing
  • Experiment and Pivot
  • Evaluate Pros/Cons & Be Willing To Change Career Paths
  • Know The Local Leaders in Your Desired Industry

Follow Your Heart and Use Your Head

This advice has always worked for me – Use your heart as the compass, and your mind as the map. The heart will tell you the way to go to reach your “True North,” and your mind will tell you how to get there. True satisfaction comes from using your skills to serve others, and this simple rule of thumb will help you choose the path offering the greatest opportunities for achieving that goal. 

James Constas, BS International Management ‘88, Prism Group

Find The Small Joys in The Work You Are Already Doing

I would never look at your career as being lost. Early on, you are really trying to figure out what you are good at and what you enjoy. I encourage everyone to first look at their job or their school work and think “What are the parts of this that I enjoy?” There is a very high likelihood that there are parts of the job or work that you enjoy. Then start to think about roles where you can do that every day.

Jake Dunlap, MBA ‘09, Skaled

Compare The Lifestyle You Want vs What You Enjoy Doing

It’s common for people to be left pondering in their heads about a career path. First, establish the amount of financial security you would like to have. Second, figure out what you enjoy doing. No matter what you enjoy doing, there is usually an industry for that activity. Watch YouTube videos, join groups, or ask people in the workforce what they do to get ideas. If you’re looking for a highly secure job, consider working in a field that makes society function: infrastructure (engineering), medical, technology, or data science. If you want more unpredictability, join a local start-up – you’ll have a direct impact with your efforts and learn new skills rapidly. Finally, work with people that inspire you to be better in your career and your personal life. 

Tyler Vallely, BS Entrpuernership ‘20, OUTREC

Experiment and Pivot

Navigating your career is a journey and it’s OK to not know where you want that journey to start, or question it even once it’s begun. My advice is don’t be afraid to quickly try something out, and then pivot. 

For example, maybe you’ve started a career in finance, but you think you might be interested in social media marketing. While working on your finance position, find a small opportunity to test out social media marketing. Perhaps your company has affinity groups that you belong to and there’s an opportunity for you to do some social media marketing work or maybe there’s an organization you can volunteer with on the weekends to test out social media marketing.

As you work on that area of interest, write down what you like and what you don’t. Do the same thing for your current career. As you learn about what you like, don’t, and what you are good at you will gain clarity on your next step. 

Honi Olmedo, BS Supply Chain Management ‘15, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Evaluate Pros/Cons & Be Willing To Change Career Paths

The thing I found that works for me and most people I meet is pros and cons. Can you sustain the lifestyle you want on the career path you have set? If not, you need to evaluate what the essentials are for you to live a “good life.” Once you have narrowed down what in life you need to obtain, focus on a path that will allow you to get there, and then look up the path with the most opportunity. Also, be willing to change; sometimes what you graduated in may not be what you end up with or end up being happy with.

Dajon Coleman, BS Business Law ‘19, SHIFT

Know The Local Leaders in Your Desired Industry

Before committing to a career, find local leaders who have succeeded in the work you aspire to do. From visiting their websites and following them on social media to inviting them for a cup of coffee, getting to know what a day in the life in that industry looks like will help you determine if the profession aligns with your vision and passions. If you connect with the work and outcomes, and find a niche you can make an impact in, you’ve found a suitable career. 

Manny Lucero, MBA Business Management ‘14, Lucero Consulting Group

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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center