Graduating college is a time of great joy and pride for students and their parents.
But it’s also a time for asking “Now what?” as donning that cap and gown marks a transition for many from school life to the workforce.
Graduates quickly find that working life is a different animal entirely – but that doesn’t mean you have to go in completely blind.
Others have been here, and advice always helps – so read on for some of the most important career-related tips to keep in mind.
Keep an eye on your internet presence
It used to be the case that all the information potential employers had about job applicants was their resume, cover letter, and references.
Not so anymore, as just about every aspect of our lives will show up across myriad social media platforms.
And if you’re not careful, mistakes in curating your online persona could cost you a chance at a job.
Overcoming this doesn’t have to be a herculean task, though – just be conscientious in your posting, edit your privacy settings, and take some time to check back through your old posts to put your best foot forward.
Adapt to the job market
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes the fields teeming with jobs when you start college are oversaturated by the time you finish.
And with major new technologies arriving (or right around the corner) all the time, it’s increasingly valuable that you keep your skills toolbox updated at all times.
Some of the more useful skills might not be what you’d expect, but that should also be encouraging – even if you don’t have coding experience, for instance, creativity and flexibility are much harder to teach.
The bottom line here is to never stop considering and reconsidering what skills you have to offer as the world changes around you.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Knowledge is power – it’s why you went to college in the first place, isn’t it?
But while this can come off as fortune-cookie wisdom, the fact remains that it’s a lot harder to succeed if you aren’t using your strengths properly.
You know what you’re good at – hopefully your strengths align with your academic focus, but even if not, you can always leverage your strengths to supplement your resume and make up for gaps.
The same goes for your weak points, as knowing what those are can clue you in as to what you need to work harder on – or what kinds of jobs might not be for you.
Fail – and learn from it
For all your preparations and introspection, you’re still bound to fail at various points – and that’s totally fine.
Failure can mean a lot of things, but it should never be taken as a disaster.
Understanding how to accept and build from failure is one of the key parts to moving forward in life, whether it means starting over at a different company or in an entirely different field.
Treat your career as a series of experiences to learn from
It can be tempting to evaluate your success or failure by your paychecks and how well your job aligns with your academic major.
But success isn’t always linear – in fact, it rarely is.
Rather than viewing the inevitable job changes ahead of you as moving from point A to point B, it helps to understand them each as experiences in their own right.
In a practical sense, one job might lead to a better one in the same field, but if you’re choosing your employers wisely you should be growing as a person whether your career is moving in a straight line or not.
After all, you aren’t meant to stop learning after you get your degree.