Taking a Seat at the Table: A Grad’s Guide to Stepping Into *sigh* the Workforce

First, take a slow, deep breath and try to hold on to the positive memories you’ve had over the last 4 to 7 years. Remember the early mornings, late nights, last-minute assignments, group projects, grilled cheese sandwiches, and ramen noodles? Well, I’ve got some good news and bad news: The bad news, those dog days are over (unless you go to grad school); the good news, not much changes with your first job. Yes, your classmates turn to coworkers, and the café becomes a breakroom. All of your experiences thus far have prepared you for life in the workforce believe it or not. Once you land that job, a career can’t be far behind. How do you land that job? I’m glad you asked, I happen to have a couple of tips to help you launch yourself into the workforce the right way.

It All Goes on Your Resume 

Putting your various college jobs on your resume can be a plus. The key is to make sure you highlight the skillsthat you gained from these positions. Any promotions, projects, or beneficial experiences (conferences, presentations, etc.) show commitment and determination which can add value to what an employer sees in you. Internships, however, need to be quantified; you need to be able to show specific tangible results. In any case, if you can justify it, use it. 

Use Your Social Platforms Wisely

A poll done by CareerBuilder found that 70%of employers check social media when looking for candidates in their hiring processes, and around 43% of employers regularly check on current employees. With that being said, does anyone else hear that voice in the back of their head from either a parent or a teacher saying, ‚Äúwatch what you say on the internet, it‚Äôll be there FOREVER.‚Äù I won‚Äôt do a deep dive into a lot of dos and don‚Äôts because, as a graduate, I have a lot of faith in you‚ÄìI‚Äôll only focus on a couple that I see quite often. Your brand should always reflect who you are, but it should also match across all your platforms, both personally and professionally. When commenting or sharing a post, please do your ownresearch, know the facts, and double-check the validity of the article. Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough, use LINKEDIN. LINKEDIN was literally built with the purpose of networking, so a large number of recruiters are actively on there; it‚Äôs a job goldmine if played and networked right.

Your Network is Your Net Worth 

80%of jobs are not visible but through networking. That means networking is imperative to entering and staying in the workforce. Online or off, through LinkedIn or an internship, connections you make and the relationships you build and maintain show more than you know. Not only does it put you in the spotlight, but it allows you to show how you can contribute where others cannot and establishes your presence in the job searching arena. Networking isn‚Äôt only for making connections, it can also help you in advancing or transitioning your career, starting a business, learning new skills, and learning how to reach your goals and objectives.

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy! ‚Äì Ms. Frizzle 

The best thing you can do is take a chance. Why? Because two things come from taking chances: you succeed or you fail. If you succeed, great; if you fail, even better. That failure or mistake you made is how you will learn and grow to be better. Taking a position outside your field may not be what you want to do, but by saying no to the opportunity you could be missing out on skills you’ll eventually need in the career you do want or you might learn you have a passion you never knew about. When you make a mess and make a mistake it’s ok, it’s part of growing, learning, and developing. The important part is to grow from the messes you make.

Figure Out Your Worth and What You Want

When was the last time you genuinely took inventory of your skills, what you‚Äôre good at, and what sets you apart? And an even better question is, what is it you really want out of your career and life? 

Your transition from undergrad to a new employee is the perfect time to find these answers, and as corny as it sounds, finding these answers can and will help you achieve your goals. Come up with a plan that covers 1, 5, and 10 years into the future. Take the skills you have and focus on using them to reach your targets. By finding a direction to go and making plans to follow you take out the pressure and distractions that come from uncertainty. The fewer distractions you have the better you will be able to hone in on your positive skills and attributes as well as your goals.

Being a college grad is tough. I know because I was there, like‚Ķ never mind how long ago, but I was there! And I wish someone had given me a couple of tips to help me out in my transition. Although this isn‚Äôt a comprehensive list, I believe this is a conversation for the ages and one that continually needs to be had between those entering the workforce and those hiring for the workforce. 

Do you have any tips and tricks for new grads? Drop them in our comments and keep the conversation going.

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