Learning about the job market from the mall? Yep.
The college that I work for is on spring break this week.
Which means, simply: Spring Break - wooooooo!! =)
During my spring break I paid a visit to the mall and, because I love metaphors and my blog readers, it made me think about how the mall represents how you can look at the job market as a college student in a way that will help you in your career journey.
I think the mall can teach 3 important things about the job market that can help you figure out your future after college:
1. You sometimes walk through big stores to get where you want to go – I don’t know about your parking preference, but whenever I go to the mall, I park at the big department stores. I rarely plan on doing all of my shopping at those big stores – I like to look around and see what they have and what is new, but usually they aren’t my intended destination.
The job market reflects that same idea at times – your dream job might not be the first company that offers you an opportunity for experience out of college. However, it can often lead you towards great adventures and provide you with incredible experience that will move you closer to your intended goal. Look out for "parking spots" and "entrances" to your first career that will give you great experience, even if it isn't your intended final destination.
2. Kiosks are companies too. One thing about any industry or job field is that there are always going to be surrounded by businesses that correlate and intertwine, but aren't directly related. The kiosks in the mall are a good example of this – they use the traffic of the mall shoppers to bring business to their product.
When you are looking for a job in a particular field out of college, you might want to think about what “kiosk” companies (not literally) are out there. For example, if you are interested in education, but aren’t sure you want to teach, consider working at a tutoring center or a nonprofit that works closely with school systems. Those are the kiosks outside of the huge field of teaching, and now would be the time to "walk by" and meet with professionals who work in these industries to get a feel for what they do on a daily basis.
3. There is a reason that the Apple store is always crowded. I went to buy something for my iPod at the mall, and even though I arrived at the mall literally as they opened the doors, I was like the 12th person to enter the Apple store. Why? Because quality is attractive. And that is important to remember when you enter the world of employment.
You aren’t always going to have the most experience, you aren’t always going to have the most mass-appeal, but if you do the work necessary to show your quality to a few - cultivating relationships with peers, professors, and professionals - you can start to build a “following”. You will start to have that small group that is passionate about the product of you – just like Apple did – and then branch outward with those connections and widen your appeal to potential employers.
The job market is always changing and evolving, and while it is awesome to live in a place where we have so many options, too many options can feel overwhelming - because we're terrified of choosing the wrong thing. Remember to enjoy the journey, and that you can always try different things on until you find a good fit. The key is to see it as an adventure.
Community College Success - the book - is now available on Amazon.com! If you can add an Amazon.com review once you read the book I would appreciate it so much. Thank you! :)