The Secret to the Perfect Career Path

August 31, 2015 The Washington Center

Finding the perfect career path sometimes starts with taking an imperfect job opportunity,

In this installment of TWC's Alumni Spotlight Series, Roxane Schneider '10 explains that finding the perfect career path sometimes starts with taking an imperfect job opportunity.

Last month, an alumna sought assistance in a job search by reaching out to fellow TWC alums on our LinkedIn community. Someone responded to her post with a potential lead, but the alumna said: "Seems like an incredible place to work, but none of those jobs fit my skills."

Roxane Schneider '10 probably felt that way for a moment before she accepted an administrative assistant position at the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR). They extended the offer to her just after her TWC internship with the company ended. After all, her undergraduate degree in political science and mass communication screamed "political PR strategist," not "financial risk management expert."

"I took the job because it offered broad enough opportunities that exposed me to various areas of expertise across the company," Schneider said. "I had no idea where it might lead but knew there was potential for growth."

After just five years in the financial services industry, Schneider recently became FSR's director of fraud risk. She regularly interacts with senior executives of America's top 100 financially related institutions. Yet it's definitely not something she envisioned for herself in 2010.

"I took advantage of something that met my interest and turned out to better suit my skills than government relations," she said. "I took a risk, and I ended up with a great career opportunity."

Here's her advice for looking beyond the job description when finding that first - or new - job:

1. Evaluate your skills: Think back to your TWC assessments and skills tests. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? A good career coach or mentor can help, too.

2. Look beyond your major: Give yourself a broad spectrum of professional-field options. Rather than focus on the job title, look at keywords and skills on postings and match them to your strengths and interests. Subject-matter expertise develops over time if you're motivated, productive and have the basic skills.

3. Apply, apply, apply: Ante up even for things you don't think you're qualified for! When you interview with an employer, you give off a different vibe from what you seem like on paper. You never know what a hiring manager will see when he or she meets you in person.

4. Know when to stay or go: Once you've got the job, pay attention to your leadership. Does the organization you work for have a good goal-setting and review process? Are you progressing at the end of each year? If after two years you see yourself stagnating, think about making a move elsewhere.

Schneider writes about financial security and frequently shares posts in our TWC Alumni LinkedIn Community. Join the group today to get access to this helpful information!

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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