Every child has been asked the infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When I was young, my dream was to go to law school, become a judge and end my career as a politician. I thought the pathway to my dreams was simple: do well in high school, go to college and graduate with a job lined up. It wasn’t long before I realized that choosing a career was significantly harder than my 18-year-old self-believed.
In my final semester of college, I accepted an internship opportunity to work for a political non-profit organization. I packed my car, left my small rural university in Illinois and drove to Washington, D.C. The first couple of months of my internship, I was in awe. However, as time passed, I realized that politics was not my path. With graduation approaching, I felt stuck. I confided to my sister, who was a recruiter at the time.
I shadowed her and her work seemed meaningful and exciting. I got excited that recruiting could be a viable career path for me and started applying for recruiting roles. After spending hours writing cover letters and tailoring my resume, my phone was not ringing. Frustrated, I reached out to my sister and her recruiter colleagues. They coached me on how to write “the perfect” resume and provided me with mock interviews. Recruiters taught me to never be afraid to ask the hiring manager for feedback after a rejection. Shortly after, companies began calling me. It took multiple interviews before I was offered my first recruiting position and I have loved my job ever since.
Deciding on a career isn’t easy. If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re not alone. Among college students, over 75% of incoming freshman haven’t picked a major, and more than half of college students will change their major at least once. Being undecided or changing your mind is normal.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” it is okay to not answer. Even if you are in the workforce, it is perfectly okay to not know or to change your career. With experience, interests, loads of rejection and help, finding that perfect career is achievable. Never give up!
Jackie is an Associate Recruiter in our Project Solutions Group, providing recruiting and staffing efforts to support our contingent workforce contracts. Jackie brings to JustinBradley her knowledge working for two well-known recruiting firms conducting full-cycle recruiting and her experience in business development for a global news organization. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from Southern Illinois University and the spent a semester studying at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, which she describes as an incredible and unforgettable experience.
Jackie grew up in Buffalo Grove, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Outside of work, Jackie can be found volunteering for her local animal shelter or training for an upcoming marathon.