Careers are not linear, they are messy. Expect the unexpected.

We often start off a job search, especially in the early days, with what we feel is our ideal job in mind. We find roles that sing to us, where we meet the person specification almost perfectly and, in an organisation, where we really think we’ll fit and which will almost definitely be a fantastic place to start our career.

Then, when the dream role doesn’t materialise, we get really down and decide that it’s not worth it.

But what if it is worth it? What if your ideal role or even a good enough role is something you’ve decided not to consider because you don’t know what you don’t know? And what if that role provides you with the skills and experience to land your preferred role when it comes to your second or even third job?

Why would you take a role that you don’t think you want?

Here are 3 good reasons why:

  1.  Networks. No matter what job you go into as your first foray into employment you will make contacts. Perhaps think wider than the job itself. Who are the suppliers, the customers, the other people you’ll deal with because you’re in that job?
  2. Transferable skills. If you want to work in finance because you like working with numbers and data, where else can you get those skills? Particularly in the early stages of your career, employers are very interested in your transferable skills set i.e. the skills that you learn in one environment, which show you have the potential to apply them to another environment.
  3. Beating the Competition. Graduate roles and internships are often won by those whose work experience consists of part time roles in hospitality or retail. Doing any role, full time for a year makes you stand out head and shoulders above the competition, as you’ll have experienced the day to day of working life and all that goes with it and you’ll have a rich bank of stories to draw on to tell employers.

There’s also the strong possibility that you’ll enjoy the role anyway! We’ve seen this happen with countless students over the years.


Sarah Rourke, Careers Consultant, Henley Business School