Dr. Anke Bohne: To find out what kind of job I’d like to do after graduating, I should ask myself early on in my studies what kinds of profession I’m interested in as a basic principle.
It makes sense for me to consider three potential lines of work: my absolute dream job, a Plan B and a Plan C. It’s also important to think about what doesn’t appeal to me in the least, which would be Plans X, Y and Z, so to speak.
To be in with a shout of landing my “dream job,” I’ll need to gain professional experience in my desired line of work. There are several ways to do this:
One is by taking a part-time student job in my chosen field. If I’d like a job in a museum further down the line, for instance, it’s useful to have already gained some experience of working with museums and exhibitions as a student assistant or freelancer while I’m still studying. Another route is via internships, possibly also abroad. Internships and part-time student jobs will tell me what I enjoy and what I don’t.
Voluntary work and taking part in practical seminars during my studies are other ways I can get a taster of interesting areas of work and what people do in them.
If I’ve never even tried out my supposed dream job, I’ll never know whether it’s really as great as I imagined. Neither will I ever find out what skills I should possibly improve on in order to make it in my chosen profession.
So it’s very important to start orienting myself toward a career in this way while I’m still at university—during my bachelor’s studies, in fact—instead of putting off asking myself what the right job for me is until the latter stages of my bachelor’s degree program, then the latter stages of my master’s degree program or even the latter stages of my doctoral studies.
The sooner I settle on a career direction after some initial orientation during my degree program, the more targeted I can be in looking for internships and part-time student jobs and the better I can plan my potential transition from my bachelor’s to a master’s or from my master’s to a doctorate.