You did it!
You passed your finals✓
Walked across the stage✓
Received your diploma✓
Threw your grad cap in the air✓
Smiled for pictures✓
Life after graduation is exciting but can be full of uncertainty, especially when it comes to the—for many of us—uncharted territory of starting a career. And without any real professional experience, how are you supposed to know which position, employer, or career path is right for you? Thankfully, you don’t have to know. The luxury of being fresh out of college and new to the job market is that you have time to figure it out. Here’s how to use that time wisely.
Explore your options
For some, their career path is all laid out and they know exactly what they want to do with their lives and careers. For the vast majority of the rest of us, we’re still trying to figure it out. These first few years post graduation are perfect for testing the waters of different industries or positions. You don’t have to jump ship every week, but it’s good to get a few different experiences under your belt to pad your resume and to learn about what kind of career you’d like to have and the kind of work you’d like to do. Your first job out of college isn’t going to be your dream job, but it’s definitely a stepping stone and an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Your career is much like your education has been; it’s accumulated learning and experiences.
Take it seriously
Take job hunting seriously and treat it like a full-time job. Put a plan together and tackle it like a school project. Identify opportunities that look interesting, research the company, conduct informational interviews when possible, and tailor your resume and cover letter to each position. Think about what you want out of your first position, whether it be work-life balance, a fun culture, professional development opportunities, or simply work experience in a professional setting. Then compile questions that you can ask during interviews and informational interviews that can help you discover if you’ll be able to get what you need and want out of the different positions.
Don’t get discouraged
Some employers won’t review and contact applicants on a rolling basis, instead waiting for an allotted period then reviewing all at once. Sometimes you’ll go through several interviews, only to learn that the employer, “went in a different direction.” Job searching is a long game. You don’t usually get immediate results, and not every opportunity pans out. So put in the time, keep applying, and be patient. Look at each application and interview as a development opportunity you can learn and grow from.
Don’t go it alone
Finding the right opportunity with the right employer—especially when you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you “grow up”—can be difficult. But don’t worry, there’s help all around you. Your college career center is a great resource. They’ll help you update your resume, run practice interviews with you, connect you to alumni for informational interviews, and they often post open opportunities on a job board specifically for students and alums of your college…hey, that’s you!
There are also recruiting firms out there that can help you…hey, that’s us! There are a variety of staffing and recruiting firms out there. Avenica specifically works with recent college grads to help them identify their career goals, interests, and skills and then match them to opportunities that are a right fit.
For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing recent college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.