In college, sometimes it seems like the only thing you can set your sights on is graduation. You’re aiming for that finish line for that cap, gown, and diploma because it is a great accomplishment. However, you should be looking beyond graduation and into your career before you even cross that much-deserved finish line.
Many students think they know what is waiting for them after college graduation: a job and a salary. While this is true, the road to get there after graduation can be riddled with challenges. Future Institute’s main focus is helping graduate succeed in college and in career, and we have some advice to help you persevere.
1. Seek Opportunities
Most college graduates don’t transition into their “dream job” right out of college. Many of those jobs require years of experience in addition to a high school degree. Therefore, don’t pass up job opportunities that aren’t your ideal job. Find a job that will help you build the skills for securing your dream job in the future.
2. Write Tailored Resumes
While your resume might not look impressive compared to someone who has been in the workforce for many years, don’t stick with a generalized resume for every job you apply for. You should be tailoring your resume to every single position and using the words used in the job descriptions that the company is sending out.
3. Start Networking Now
Even before your graduate, you should be attempting to meet possible employers and contacts through networking events. This could mean job fairs at your university, conferences, meet-ups, and other career-related events. Don’t wait until after you have your diploma in hand to start meeting people — you never know who could help you get your first job! Even if some of those contacts aren’t in your field, it can still help to know people in diverse sectors.
4. Be Prepared for Criticism
Companies have social aspects just like in college and in high school, so don’t expect every coworker to sugarcoat anything or immediately befriend you. You may have some negative interactions and circumstances arise in your first job, but don’t give up on it at the first sign of trouble. In the real world, you must persist and learn how to deal with tough situations. However, if you are in a truly toxic situation for your mental health, do what’s best for you.
5. Research Your Career Path
As mentioned in our Career Exploration blog post, you should outline and research your career path before graduating. Depending on the career, you may need more education or certifications before landing a job. You may need to start at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up, which is standard in most cases. Be sure to map out what position you will look for first, then where you want to be in five years, ten years, etc. Creating a timeline can give you a strong sense of direction and purpose to meet your career goals.
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