Members of today’s young Millennial generation strive to become part of something bigger than themselves. Despite the social stigmas, family objections, and financial concerns that have typically deterred people from cause-driven work, many young people today are seeking compassionate careers in cause-focused organizations. By following the nine-step framework detailed by Jeffrey W. Pryor and Alexandra Mitchell in Compassionate Careers, young people can discover what they truly care about, explore their opportunities, build their connections, and get started in their pursuits of compassionate careers. The framework can be applied to navigate young people toward the paths that will bring meaning into both their work and personal lives.
According to the authors, young people should do the following when trying to decide on a career path:
- Find a path with a heart. Young people want to make a difference in the world, and opportunities abound across the globe. Between nonprofits, foundations, corporate social responsibility firms, and social enterprise organizations, young people have many opportunities to find compassionate careers.
- Overcome social stigma. Some young people have hesitations about working in cause-focused organizations. The most common hesitations revolve around professional status, family support, integrity and trust, compensation, and prospects for diversity.
- Begin change with a spark. Young people are typically inspired by role models, their communities, or epiphanies. Once inspired, they must decide which causes matter most to them.
- Turn angst to action. Many young people are inspired by life’s challenges. When this happens, they must reassess their priorities and advocate for their causes.
- Explore the options. When considering compassionate careers, young people must think about their personal preferences, stress levels, culture fits, and brands. Once they have identified the types of organizations they want to work for, they should develop their educational backgrounds and professional networks.
- Navigate by choice. Young people should be aware of organizations that do nothing to invest in their future. They must know what they want to achieve and develop their own paths forward.
- Consider jobs without borders. International opportunities are plentiful, but before going global, young people must consider if they have a spirit of adventure. If they do, they must also consider their families and interdependence issues before deciding to go abroad.
- Become the River Keepers. Young people in compassionate careers must be grateful to the River Keepers, the people who came before them and paved the way. As they become River Keepers themselves, young people must work hard to contribute to the character and quality of others’ lives.
- Get started. To get started on the path toward compassionate careers, young people must identify their values, overcome their concerns, explore their resources and opportunities, and navigate toward making money while also making a difference.
Don’t Wear Flip-Flops to Your Interview
Competition for jobs has become tougher, and people have become a lot more astute about conducting a job search, so just sending out a few résumés and waiting for a response is no longer a valid way to look for a position. Rather, assigning themselves the “job” of looking for a job is the way successful job seekers operate today. It takes the right combination of energy, commitment, and optimism, tempered with a sense of humor, to keep the doldrums away while searching for a job. In Don’t Wear Flip-Flops to Your Interview, Dr. Paul Powers shares his years of experience helping people obtain jobs they love.
Job hunting is hard work, but treating it like a job can make it easier and more rewarding. Job seekers should:
- Identify the top 10 roadblocks to successful job hunting and take steps to combat them. Although it is difficult to control the amount of time it takes to find a job, there are many other things job seekers can control, and that puts them in charge of the process.
- Work on interview skills, practice interview style, and tailor this practice to specific interviews. Interview anxiety is natural, but being completely prepared in advance alleviates many of the fears that cause it.
- Use multiple sources to locate job opportunities, and utilize them all at the same time. It pays to become familiar with print and online job markets, recruiters and employment agencies, and hidden job resources that are often accessed by word of mouth.
- Research each company, anticipate questions and answers, and be totally prepared. The right attitude, coupled with dialogue that shows the job seeker did the necessary homework to find out about the job and the company beforehand, will impress most interviewers.
- Beat out the competition by projecting a friendly, positive, and respectful attitude. Job seekers who make it to the short list are those who dress and groom professionally and who communicate directly and clearly.
- Maintain good references who can be counted on to deliver a great recommendation, and be sure to thank them every time they are contacted. The reference list should be regularly updated and references called to make sure they are still willing to provide that service.
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