Soaring like an eagle ? is a career transitioning program LIFE offers to graduates seeking a grad program at one of many esteemed organisations. But how does a graduate choose an organisation and career path that fits with their education, skill set, aspirations, interests, and more?

It isn’t just about studying for a degree in commerce for instance with a major in accounting then finding a job as an accountant. It’s all in the fit. There are some important things to consider when making a decision about the best fit. When working out your fit you may like to take the following points into consideration before starting those arduous time consuming grad job applications.

1. Does the organisation fit with what you value in a job and career? Ask yourself what do you value? Power, prestige, money and advancement? Team collaboration? Contribution to society? Ability to influence? Flexibility? Learning opportunities? Location of the job? Family? If you value them all, try giving each a number out of 10 in terms of importance NOW. Our values can change over time depending on stage of life.
2. Does the culture of the organisation suit you? Ask yourself where have you enjoyed yourself the most and least in life? What types of environments engage you and what environments switch you off? Toxic cultures in a workplace is one that clients unanimously agree are ones to avoid. But how do you learn about the true culture of an organisation? Start by asking around in your networks. Research the organisation and read news articles. Ask questions in interviews about leadership style and more.
3. Be honest with yourself about the type of environment you want to work in and this will set yourself up to succeed. Do you like to work indoors or outdoors, or a mix of both? A consulting design engineer versus a project engineer. In front of a screen, in an office for instance, or out and about? Do you like to be active, on your feet more, such as a social worker doing visitations or working in a hospital setting, rather than as a counselor seeing clients in rooms. Do you like a structured work environment with set hours and expected outcomes or prefer a loose structure like a creative space? Do you thrive working with the public or prefer to be in the back office working in your own space?
4. Ask yourself what areas of work you are interested in. Your degree may lead you in a certain direction but not always. If you have a strong people profile, that is you are most interested in working with people, caring, advising and influencing, then HR, care roles, customer service, and management is a good fit. But if you are more interested in information than roles in comms, IT, and data will be a better fit. Similarly, if you are more interested in things, then jobs such as engineering and building, interior design, and art are a better fit.
5. Choosing a role that suits you is important. Are you a collaborator, or not, prefer a supportive role rather than an operational one, like being in a team or working independently, be a leader or not? As one client said once, he worked with a team of riggers on an oil rig, and one day he worked up in the cabin, all alone, and did not like it at all. Ask yourself, how do you like to work?
6. Organisations are different shapes and sizes too just like people. Small organisations provide boutique offerings, like a local lawyer, to a large international law firm. Ask yourself what you prefer. There are always trade offs. In larger organisations, for instance, salary may be better, but there may be faster and more diverse skills development in smaller organisation. Working for corporates, governments, NGOs and small businesses are all very different too and it’s important to ask yourself honestly where you fit.
7. Does the organisation suit your personality? If you are an extrovert and the place is an office of silos, then it could get lonely? If there is collaboration across teams, then it will likely be a good fit as your cup is being filled up from the interaction and engagement. Similarly, if you are an introvert and you are expected to celebrate every sale with whoops and cheers, then it could be daunting.
8. There are a few more things to consider too and a good way to test that is to remind yourself what is important. Perhaps you like travel and want to have a stint overseas so a multinational company or organisation that has an international presence would be a good option. If work life balance is important then consider what is expected before you consider the career path. If you want exposure to cultural diversity, then where does that occur?
9. Finally, will the actual work engage you? Sometimes, when starting at the entry level, the work may not be what you want for the long term, but if you can see a path to the work you seek, then getting on with the job at hand is the best strategy forward.