Becoming a professional in your field after graduating from college is going to take some time and effort. Many college students stumble after graduating because they have been fed false information about how the world works and what they will be expected to do – career counseling will only help so much.
Hunting for your first job will be a relentless battle of patience and stress-management, but you will always come out on top in the end. So what are some of the essential steps in starting a good career right after graduating from college?
1. Establishing an online presence
Before applying for any sort of job or an interview, you should establish your online persona. Interviewers are likely to search for you online and see who you are before deciding to call you for an interview. Creating and filling a profile on platforms such as LinkedIn, Behance, DeviantArt, etc. will help you better define yourself.
Choose your online platforms of choice depending on the type of job you are looking for. Business-oriented people will likely find better success on LinkedIn than designers would – their playground should be Behance or Pinterest. Making sure that you are clearly defined online is essential in today’s digital world.
A job for a college graduate is still a job someone else could have gotten – do everything you can to justify your application by giving the interviewer something to work with.
2. Set goals and expectations
The truth of the matter is that starting a career means looking for a job in your desired niche. Be realistic when it comes to your goals and expectations moving forward. Your grades just might not be good enough to land an office job that you have always wanted.
The amount of work and effort you put into your college degree will start to show when you begin applying for your first jobs. Seeing that young graduate have very little or no experience to display on their applications, they tend to rely on their grades and volunteer work – you should do the same. You can do a simple career test on yourself by writing a cover letter and thinking about what motivates you to move forward.
What is it that you want to achieve in your career and where do you see yourself in five years? Five years is a very short span of time (as you will soon find out), so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for a young graduate. Don’t aim for the stars when it comes to your first job applications. Aim for moving out of your parent’s house and becoming independent.
3. Looking for internships
There is an abundance of internships available for college seniors and graduates all over the world, not just in your country. The secret to finding an internship once you have graduated is lowering your expectations and looking for paid internships first and foremost.
No one wants to say that they have graduated only to end up volunteering and being broke. You can easily look for internships online or on platforms on which you have established your profile beforehand. Applying for an internship is easier than applying for a job, but it can be just as stressful. Internships can lead to full employments and very useful references down the line. The problem is that companies would rather hire an intern who is still a college student and then train him or her to employ them down the line.
College graduates are expected to have some kind of working experience already, making it a bit harder to land an internship outright. Regardless of any difficulties, internships in right places can lead to very fruitful careers down the line.
4. Don’t stop trying
The worst thing that can happen to a college graduate when applying for jobs is to get burned out easily. There will be employers who will tell you “No, thank you.” There will be interviewers who never get back to you after talking to you for two hours.
The most important part of the process to consider is that all of it is a learning experience. Even simple entry-level jobs will require some form of professionalism and behavior on your part – no one will hire you out of pity. Do everything you can to stay motivated and keep applying for any job position that might seem interesting to you.
It’s not a mistake to apply for something you haven’t studied in college but feel passionate about to try out. The secret of landing a job that can kick-start your career is to give it everything you have. Make the employer feel your energy and in turn, show them what they are missing out on if they don’t hire you. Being passionate and energetic is exactly what today’s interviewers are looking for.
5. Settle for long-term plans
Accepting a job that may keep you employed for a couple of weeks is a good way to get some experience and a new entry in your resume. However, settling for anything less than a yearlong contract is shooting you in the proverbial foot. What will you do after your three-month trial period is over? Starting a career and getting some mileage in an area you are interested in takes more time than that.
Do some career counseling and figure out a way to communicate your long-term career plans to the interviewer. Many employers are willing to hire college graduates who want to start a career and dedicate themselves to their company. This is because young students have a far shorter attention span than experienced workers and will rather quit and look for a different job that settles for a secure, long-term career job.
Following these essential steps to starting a career is an effort in itself. The focus and dedication required of a young individual is something that no one can prepare for. No one can live their entire life just by cashing in on their college diploma. While graduating should be a number one priority of every student, preparing for what comes afterward is just as important.