You’ve finally graduated; now what?
After graduation, it’s a whole new ballgame. You’ve landed your first job, and it’s time to put everything you learned in college to the test. Now instead of your grade, your career is on the line. And let’s face it — launching into a career can be daunting.
But try not to forget that you’re still learning and figuring out this thing called life. Here are some tips for all you fresh grads on how to take what you learned in college and apply it to your career.
1. Set career goals
Your career dreams probably won’t happen right away. Your first job out of college doesn’t have to be your dream job — take a few years to gain experience, meet those milestones, and learn what it takes to achieve your dream career.
You don’t have to play the interview game and ask yourself where you see yourself in five years, but you should be aware of the goal you’re working toward. What career are you working toward now that college is over, and is what you’re doing now progressing toward that goal? Review courses you took towards your major and apply what you learned toward your new career.
2. Keep learning
In order to learn more about your career path, take as many opportunities to expand your knowledge as you can. Just because you aren’t being graded doesn’t mean you can stop learning. Jump on new projects, volunteer for events, and really get a feel for your company. Constantly brush up on the best ways to present yourself, and make sure you’re always prepared for the next job opportunity.
3. Avoid locking yourself into ‘traditional’ career options
You may have learned things studying for your major that are applicable to an entirely different subject matter. So don’t worry if your job after graduation isn’t in your major’s career field immediately.
You can learn a ton from your first job, and then apply that to a job you really want later.
4. Don’t compare your career path progress to to that of your friends
Everyone is different, and everyone’s path is different. Your professional network, experience, and even hopes and dreams are different from those of your friends. Especially your work friends. As a result, they’re probably going to have a different career than you. And that’s okay. Congratulate them on their success and be supportive! That’s what friends are for.
5. Get out of a job you hate
If you truly hate your job, odds are you’re not learning from it. And if you can’t learn to at least tolerate what you’re doing, you’re better off in a different position. When you hated a new class, you dropped it immediately right? Time spent hating your boss or coworkers would be better spent learning new skills. So get out there and find a job you love.
If you’re still looking for that first (or second) job, you might want to consider checking out a staffing agency. Recruiters can connect you with job opportunities tailored to your skillset. Here at Express Employment Professional, we have more than 34 years of experience placing job seekers in a variety of short- and long-term positions. Feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.
Are you a new grad getting started with your career? Let us know about it in the comments below!
Applied Science in Business Administration associate degree holder.
Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and Master’s in Strategic Communications. Thank you for this article, I graduated last May now I feel much better knowing I’m headed in the right direction I just have to be patient and consistent