What is a Career Conversation?
Career conversations are meetings you have with professionals who can help you understand the specifics of an industry or profession. They can be informal where you ask questions of an employee at a company you admire. Or, they can be through conversations where you explore the opportunities within a field and how they align with your skillset and goals with the help of a professional.
Career conversations can help you determine what type of work you want and what it can take to get there. In essence, these conversations help you maximize your potential so you can put your best foot forward when it comes time to apply for positions you're interested in.
What are the benefits of a career conversation?
Discover What You're Interested In
You might utilize a career conversation when trying to determine if a field you're interested in would be a good fit. These conversations are a great opportunity to dive into a profession you want to learn more about, with someone who's already living the reality. By talking with folks who are in these positions you'll have a clearer idea if what they do might be the best for you.
Don't be afraid to ask those you meet what they like about their role, how they got there, and what they find most challenging about their current position. Understanding what their day-to-day looks like will help you get an understanding of what to expect when working in that industry.
Understand Your Skill Set
Career conversations help you understand your own set of talents and skills. If you meet with a professional coach, they can help you determine what your skills are and in what type of industry they may be best suited.
From there you can hone in on developing those skills over your university experience so that once you graduate they are polished. Fortunately, UK degrees are heavily focused on experiential learning so you'll be able to put your skills into practice through the course of your program.
Understand Your Next Steps
When you chat with employees in positions or companies you believe you'd like to work for, you'll gain an understanding of what it takes to get the positions you are interested in. These conversations can also lead you to understand if there are any skills you'd need to establish or develop to work in a certain industry or at a certain company.
Especially when meeting with someone in an industry you hope to work in, getting an understanding of new trends and things to look out for can be really helpful when you begin the application process. These conversations may allow you to score a few insider tips on how to seal the deal in an interview at a particular company. In addition, you can learn what similar companies like to see on candidates' resumes or portfolios.
Build a Network
Career conversations are also a great way to establish a relationship with the person you are speaking to. They can quickly become a mentor and keep you in mind as a possible candidate when opportunities arise.
Meeting with a coach is always helpful, but while you figure out which coach is right for you, you can learn a lot from people who work at companies you admire in positions you'd like to fulfill.
Not to mention, having conversations about your goals and interests builds your communication skills which are essential in any profession and across every field.
Who should I have a career conversation with?
Career conversations shouldn't be daunting. Start with the people you know. Utilize your family members even if they aren't in a career you are necessarily interested in. Their knowledge and perspective on how corporate, start-ups, or freelancing structures work is great insight into the world of employment.
To gain more insight into the fields you are most passionate about, reach out to employees in roles you believe are your dream job, or at companies that mirror your values. One way to find these employees, CEOs, and managers is via LinkedIn. Once you find someone you'd like to speak to, tell them you are interested in what they do and ask if they have a few free minutes to chat. Or, visit a company's team page to gather any email addresses of employees you'd like to contact.
One of the most unique ways to contact employees is with the app Anyone. This app allows you to have five minute voice calls with business leaders, CEOs, employees, and entrepreneurs who use the platform. The philosophy is that just about anyone is willing to give five minutes of their time to offer advice, ideas, and knowledge. Let us know if you give it a try!
Career coaches in particular can help you create portfolios and resumes that stand out. They can also help you develop interview skills, assist you in networking, help you discover your passions and skills, and aid you in setting goals to get there.
No matter how you choose to contact those you're interested in speaking to, we recommend starting those conversations early. When you are ready, use our partner, Coach Nadia as your north star.
Once you have a basic understanding of your goals and skillset, put them to use in our Dream Maker Program. This program aims to help students develop a professional portfolio and connect them with prospective employers seeking talented people. We want to ensure that our graduating students find a career that leads to a purposeful and productive life.
We'll be with you every step of the way. Let's get started.