Create a Career Wish List

As we turn the calendar to December, the holiday season is in full swing. Hanukkah is beginning, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lights are shining and every ad on TV and online relates to shopping, shopping and more shopping.

I plan to do all of my holiday shopping online this year, as I do most of my shopping all year round (yes, I am planning a very nice holiday gift for my UPS guy, who, since I work from a home office, is the person I see most during the day!).

One of the features I’ve seen popping up on more and more e-retailer sites is the “Wish List,” where you can save all of the items you want to buy later or share with your potential gift givers. This got me thinking — wouldn’t it be cool if people had Career Wish Lists?

I’m sure you already have a few ideas of companies you’d love to work for, internships to apply for, jobs that sound interesting, successful entrepreneurs you admire or people you’ve been meaning to talk to for advice or contacts. Why not write all of this down into a Career Wish List?

Open a fresh Word document or buy a crisp new notebook and start an ongoing list of every career possibility that comes to mind. Try not to censor yourself at all; just write. Your Career Wish List (something I call your “Really Big List” in my book, Getting from College to Career), will come in handy in a variety of ways during your career planning and any job search you undertake now or in the future:

  • Your Career Wish List will give you assignments. Whenever you feel motivated to work on your career planning, it will serve as a to-do list of opportunities to research. Once you begin to gather information on any idea on your list, you should start a folder for what you find to keep track of it all.
  • Your Career Wish List will help you network. Glance through your List to prepare for any informational interview, networking event or meeting with a career counselor. Better yet, bring your list along. The people you meet are likely to know some of the companies or people on your list—or how to reach them. Your list will turn a vague, “Can you help me find a job?” into a specific request for specific leads.
  • Your Career Wish List will help you assess yourself. As your list grows, you’ll begin to see patterns of what kinds of opportunities attract you. Perhaps you’ll notice that many of the items on your list point you towards creative jobs, small companies, political work, Asian American mentors, living in Chicago, making a difference, going to graduate school or something else. Or maybe you’ll find a mishmash of stuff—which is okay, too. Don’t see an all-over-the-place list as frustrating; instead, see it as reflecting the fact that a lot of different things will make you happy.

Have you ever tried writing a Career Wish List? Will you start one this season? Please share your thoughts in the Comments!

5 Responses to “Create a Career Wish List”

  1. Matthew Mahoney

    Lindsey, this is a great idea! Pulling together a list of jobs you might love and tracking them is one of the first essential steps in starting the job search.

    It turns out, there’s a place to do it online — at Daily Endeavor (full disclosure: I work there!). Just as you describe, you can leaf through thousands of jobs, follow the ones you want to learn more about, and it creates an automatic list for you.

    For example, if you’re interested in education, you can find out about the types of jobs (http://dailyendeavor.com/categories/education) and start making your own list.

    Here’s to wishes becoming realities…

    Reply
  2. Ilyas Shareef

    Lindsey, this is a good idea for making a plan for up coming year. We can cut short time on things which are of no use. Job seekers can make use of this idea in planning ahead for making their career a hit.

    Thanks for nice post.

    Reply
  3. Maria Payroll

    Great post and great idea. People should have a career wishlist every year. They can write things that could improve their productivity or they can write new job to try, etc. This would help them set goals and stay on track for the year ahead.

    Reply

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