Written by Salina Jivani
As a growing tween, you dream of many milestones in life—the first time you’ll drive solo, your very first car, your first kiss, who you’ll marry and even what you’ll make of yourself in the future.
Graduating college is an exciting marker because it brings you one step closer to discovering one of those unknowns—what you’ll be.
But after the euphoria of never ever, ever again having to set foot in a classroom fades, it doesn’t take long for reality to come crashing through…because all of a sudden, you realize it’s you all alone in this great big world. Soon you’ll have responsibilities to fulfill and payments to make, but first you need to land that perfect job. No pressure, right?! But pause before you go dashing off, applying to every available position out there. Because a few simple tips can help you make sure you’re making a sound decision and one that’s not grounded in haste or distress.
With that diploma burning fresh in your palm and your chest swelling with pride as you shake hands with the dean, you’ve got confidence thrumming through you, making you certain the moment you step out, you’ll have a barrage of job offers clamoring for your acceptance. However, don’t be surprised, disappointed or, yes, even stressed, when/if those recruiters don’t come pounding into your inbox for a few weeks, even a few months. Finding the right job takes time and a whole lot of patience. In the meantime, if after some waiting you still don’t get any bites, it might be time to reevaluate your resume—or your search filters. Run your resume by someone who’s been in the job market for a while, and make sure the jobs you’re applying for are well aligned to your skillset and background. But whatever you do, do not—DO NOT— cast yourself aside as a failure who’ll never ever find a job and be forced to flip burgers at the local burger joint, just because you didn’t hear anything back pronto.
Your first isn’t your last
The good news here is that jobs are fluid, meaning just because you landed something that doesn’t provide the pay or the title you were hoping for, don’t get discouraged—there’s always next time. Instead, think of every role as a chance to tuck more experience under your belt. Each time you move, imagine yourself scaling another rung toward a bigger, better opportunity. If you think of each opportunity as a temporary transition into something greater instead of a permanent prison sentence, each day will become easier to conquer.
While every job should be seen as an opportunity to propel you ahead into the future, that’s no reason to settle for just anything that comes your way. Because you’re at the very start of your career, this is the time to make sure you’re in a field that’s actually enjoyable and every bit of amazing as you’d imagined. So go after what you wanted and don’t just accept something because it pays big money. In the end, the money will keep you happy only so long, but if your heart isn’t in it, you’ll only end up wasting precious time.
Use your connections
Ever heard the saying, “It’s not about what you know, but about who you know”? Well, whoever said that was spot on. This is the time to put all that networking and socializing you’ve perfected throughout high school and college to use. Reach out to friends, or friends of friends, even family, who might know of an opening or can employ leverage to help you land your ideal job with the company they work for. Recruiters almost always give a direct recommendation priority over a random online application.
In the end, remember that if your line of work doesn’t pan out to be as fabulous as you’d hoped, it’s not too late to reroute. However, five, even ten years down the road after you’ve invested much more time, the decision to make a change will prove much more difficult and costly. So think of this time as an opportunity to experiment and find out what makes you happy and where you want to be.