The Backup Plan

“Whatever your passion may be recognize it as your calling.” (Griffiths, Bob) For some that is an easy call and for others that becomes complicated. For most, whether it is in the beginning of the career or towards the end, it becomes a question.  What happens when you are going to school for, say Psychology, and you realize you don’t want to be a Psychologist? What about when that degree that you worked so hard for, and was in demand at some point in time, no longer has any jobs? What do you do? This is a hard question to ask, but many do it every day.  I wish I had a straight forward answer- but, too be honest, it really is all about what you do with what you’ve got.  So, after talking to many career advisors, looking into a few books and talking to students going through this process, I have devised what I will call the Steps for Plan B.

First things first- HAVE AN ACTION PLAN: This can take on a variety of forms. Look into databases, such as NinerJobNet and see who is hiring. Devise an ideal market for yourself. For example: Construction Management but interested in Business- the ideal market place may be Business Management or Financial Planning.  Once you know what you want, the rest will fall into place.

Next- BEGIN NETWORKING: Networking is going to your biggest tool into figuring out positions or companies to aim for. Brandi Ledermann, University Career Center Counselor, suggests creating an excel sheet and tracking all your networks. “What I suggest is create an Excel spreadsheet of the contacts they want to start with and from those contacts they will meet people who know people, etc.  The premise of the Excel spreadsheet is to track each person they speak with, if that led to another lead, and whether that lead is viable or a dead-end.  I suggest documenting any timelines into each lead.” This will allow you to easily follow through with your leads and keep on track with your networks

Another networking outlet is professional associations. One PCA here at the UCC  is interested in Human Resources but will not be receiving a Human Resource degree. However, to stay in contact with those in HR, she is part of many Human Resource Associations and she builds her career networks there. These are great instant networks and your initiative to join will look good to an employer who may be a part of the same association.

Finally, GET CREATIVE: Just because you have never gone to school for say, business, does not mean you do not qualify. For example, my internship last year recruited a variety of students. Although it was mostly finance based, there was an intern that worked with me who was Mathematics major and they also hired an engineering student. If there is a position that you want and believe you can do- sell yourself. Get creative with your resume. Pull out the key words on the job summary and incorporate them. Show the employer that you do have the skills necessary, even if you do not have a degree in it. For example, let’s think back to the Construction Management student, mentioned prior. Said student is struggling to find an internship, so he gets creative and realizes his degree is “technically” half business. Upon realization, he devises his resume for the business profession focusing on leadership, business classes, teamwork, and entrepreneur experience. All of those skills will be of interest for a business internship.  This process can apply for any career or major.

Like I said before, there is no straightforward answer to the concept of plan b, but I hope these steps will help you get on the right step towards your career change. Don’t forget- stop by the Career Center and meet with an advisor to go through these steps. They helped me a lot in devising this post and I know they will be there to help you.

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