As graduation caps flew in the air, memorable pictures were taken and bubbly was popped, perhaps you were not thinking about your next steps, instead choosing to live in the moment. That is great—you earned it! But days have passed since you graduated and got the diploma.
Now what? One chapter has been closed and another is opening. You may be looking at some of your friends and feel envious that they have something lined up, whether that is heading back to school, a job or summer plans. Or, you and your friends may be collectively figuring out post-grad life. No matter how you are approaching this chapter, there is no need to worry.Read More »
Unprepared or Unsure?
College grads have felt unprepared to enter the ‘real world’ for a while now, and these feelings have increased with online learning, limited social interaction and cancelled first jobs and internships, leaving students stuck and unsure.
Cengage, a global education company, surveyed young graduates who got their degrees in the past twelve months. 39 percent of those surveyed said they felt unprepared to apply for entry-level jobs and only 25 percent said they would choose to make the same decisions again. Economic factors and companies’ uneasiness about COVID-19 and the economy led to a pause on new grad hiring in many sectors.
Off of that, students feel like their schools did not prepare them to meet the qualifications for even the most basic of jobs. Some of these thoughts could be stemming to the uncertainty of the world and the job market today. All that said, we are here to tell you that you do not have to meet every single qualification to apply for a job and it is possible to get your confidence back and go for what you want! The best employers get that people fresh from school are there mainly to learn and grow—not have a comprehensive list of experiences.
Turn these Mistakes on Their Head to Go After What You Want
It is true that some college grads fall into the trap of believing these mistakes—after all, they are new to the workforce! But, with some tweaking, you can be savvy and more knowledgeable for when you decide to move ahead on the search.
Mistake #1: Only applying for jobs that are directly related to one’s degree.
When it comes to a first job, getting applicable experience is everything. Sure, feel free to apply to things that directly pique your interest, but do not be afraid to look in another direction, too. You might be surprised by what you find. Also, depending on the field, do not rule out post-grad internships or trainee programs, either.
Mistake #2: Treating interviews like a casual coffee hangout with friends
In multiple surveys, employers mentioned that many young grads showed up late for interviews, did not ask enough/asked inappropriate questions and felt disengaged. It is recommended to show up a little early for an interview (ask if you are unsure), do enough research so you have the basic background of the company, ask at least three thoughtful questions and always act with professionalism. Also, try to show your enthusiasm in a genuine way!
Mistake #3: Forgetting the Thank You
While it might seem “old school,” be sure to thank everyone you interact and interview with from a company. Make it personal, and, like interviews, keep things professional, even if the job is not for you. If you need tips for thank-you notes they can be found online.
Mistake #4: Only going after the $$$
Money is important since you need it to have a balanced life, but it is not everything. Determine what you need to keep up with your lifestyle and what you can cut out (extra K Cups, anyone?). While it is important to know your worth from a career perspective, as while as when a company is low-balling you, do not get so caught up in shiny six-figure offers and the like if they will not make you happy. Talk with a parent, guardian or other trusted adult if you need help evaluating your priorities and which job offers to take. Sometimes, getting the chance to learn while feeling supported is more important than any dollar amount.
Advice to the Class of 2022
New grads (or anyone who is looking to make a career pivot), do not forget the following:
- Be Patient: While this can be hard to accept at times, be patient. The world is moving faster than ever, and information is available at our fingertips, but that is not the case with jobs—well, a lot of the time, anyway. Accept and recognize that it might take time, patience and considerable effort to land a new opportunity. Be mindful of the current moment, but cut yourself some slack if things take a bit to pan out. Things will align in time!
- Always Learn: Be open and willing to learn. Just because you are done with college does not mean that learning goes way. Be willing and eager to pick up new skills that are related to your field. Treat everything like a learning experience and be willing see how your experiences (good and bad) led you to who you are today.
- Find a Place and Team that Aligns with Your Values: This matters more than you may think. Do not just take the first job offer you get, if you can afford to do so, because it so important to find an opportunity that aligns with you, your values and the type of work you can see yourself doing. Use your first job to set yourself up for success down the road.
- Identify Solutions: Team leads love when team members help them solve problems. Help a team or company come back from their shortcomings or areas of improvement and you can start to grow on a team.
- Keep Growing and See a Path to Advancement: Never give up on self-growth. Look for opportunities to step up and grow on your current team. If you have put in a year or two and see no growth, look to where you are encouraged to grow, rather than stay stagnant.
- Focus on Yourself: It can be tempting to compare yourself and your post-grad adventures to others, especially with social media taking over everything. But, at the end of the day, focus on yourself and what you can and cannot control! You do not need extra noise going around in your head. But still uplift others and celebrate their wins. Trust yourself that your time will come. If you need help and support, trusted members of your network may be able to help. We were all looking for our first job once.
Good luck out there!
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