I’ve been a long-time admirer of Alexandra Levit through her blog, Water Cooler Wisdom. Alexandra previously published They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (ain’t that the truth…) and has now published another great book called How’d You Score That Gig?
I have the great fortune of interviewing Alexandra about the book. Take a read…
What’s the premise of How’d You Score That Gig?
On the college recruiting scene, the story is always the same. Despite a major that you thought was going to prepare you for a career in the real world, by the time you’re a senior you still have no idea what you want to do with your life. You visit the campus career center and are introduced to a bevy of consulting and banking firms, Fortune 500 staples, and advertising and public relations agencies that employ the “creative” types. You don’t want to go to graduate school right away and might not know what to go to graduate school for, so you interview for these jobs and inevitably accept one.
But what if you could discover the hidden road, the one that would lead to an exciting, unique, and fulfilling line of work, the one taken by a select few who always get asked the question, “How’d you score THAT gig?” I wanted to write the book that would help twenty and thirty-somethings discover that hidden road, and I wanted it to be more than just a directory that listed a bunch of jobs and some cursory details about each. By taking a deep dive into the inner world of each of these professions, I was able to come out with the concrete steps for turning unattainable dreams into money-making realities.
How did you choose the cool jobs?
How’d You Score That Gig? features 60 cool jobs, divided into seven categories based on the broad personality types that are generally best-suited to those jobs. I selected the cool jobs via an online survey in which I asked nearly 500 twenty and thirty-somethings to tell me about their dream careers. Based on the responses, I generated a list of the top 60 careers and constructed a fairly comprehensive profile of each using the information I gathered from written sources and in-depth interviews with more than 100 individuals currently holding the jobs.
Then, I researched various personality type measures to develop my seven “passion profiles” – adventurer, creator, data-head, entrepreneur, investigator, networker, and nurturer – and placed the 60 cool jobs into the appropriate categories. In the first chapter, I designed an assessment (with help from my husband, who’s a psychologist) to help readers decide which passion profiles might be most appealing to them.
What are some jobs you’d like to do personally?
Well, I’ve done the book author and marketing exec jobs already, and I obviously enjoy both of those! Other jobs that intrigue me are futurist (or people who study sociological and technological phenomena to predict what the future will hold), forensic scientist, travel journalist, and screenwriter.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
There are so many reference books out there that merely list cool jobs. I hope that How’d You Score That Gig? will provide a true insider’s glimpse into each and every one of the careers I profile, and access to people just like you and me who are in a position to give realistic advice about getting job in each field. I hope that by learning about their personality profiles and the corresponding interesting jobs, a whole new world of possibilities will be opened up to readers, and they will have the courage to take the first steps on the journey to career fulfillment.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for people trying to score their dream gig?
Finding a career that will fulfill you personally and professionally requires exploration, and a great deal of trial and error. Throughout this process, it’s important to have realistic expectations of “dream careers.” Although the individuals profiled in my book love their jobs, even they don’t believe there’s a such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs, and aspects we love and aspects we don’t love. This is a hard, but necessary lesson that I had to learn when I succeeded in my dream job of being a book author!
Alexandra Levit is the founder and president of Inspiration @Work, a career consultancy. She regularly speaks at universities and corporations around the country about workplace issues involving young employees.
Alexandra is also a vice president at Edelman, a global marketing communications firm, where she has developed PR and interactive marketing campaigns for more than twenty Fortune 500 clients such as Microsoft, Pfizer,Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever.
Alexandra has authored several books, including the business world survival guide They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (Career Press 2004), as well as a nationally syndicated column through Tribune Media Services. Her next two books will be published by Random House and ASTD Press in early 2008.
Alexandra’s advice has been featured in more than 500 media outlets including the Associated Press, ABC News, USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Fortune, Yahoo! and MSN. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1998 and resides in Oak Park, IL with her husband Stewart.