Job Searching: 5 Things I Wish I Knew As a New Grad
They say hindsight is 20/20, and when I think back on the way I approached my job search after college graduation, there are definitely a few things that I wish I would have done differently. Although I eventually found a fantastic first career role, if I had known a bit more about job searching, it would have saved me a lot of time and spared me a few lectures from my parents. Here are five things about job searching that I wish I knew post-graduation:
If you’re like me and needed to work a job that had flexible hours and a good source of income rather than seeking out career-building internships during college, you still have some work to do to after graduation to build up your professional resume. I know, more work after finals?! But trust me, it will help you find a fulfilling career role quickly. If you haven’t already lined-up a post-grad summer internship, reach out to your local staffing agency. Staffing agencies are always looking for motivated college graduates to fill entry-level roles, and will be able to advocate for the “soft skills” you gained while working in the restaurant or retail industry. Temp work is also a great way to explore different office environments and industries with low-commitment, and will give you the valuable resume-building experience you need to find a great long-term role.
It’s all about who you know, so build your network!
Tell everyone you know (and even people you don’t know. . . see this article for more tips on talking to strangers!) about what you’re looking for and start building your community outside of your graduating class. Connecting with people who work at companies that you’d like to work at will be an invaluable resource to your search, so reach out to family friends or your extended school networks (people who graduated before you did). Social media, especially LinkedIn, makes this really easy. Join your alumni groups on LinkedIn, connect with old friends, and reach out to acquaintances to learn more about their career journeys. Connecting with Career Coaches (like us) or Recruiters will also do a lot to build a network with professionals who are tapped into local hiring contacts, and have a broader knowledge of the job landscape than you do.
You don’t have to pursue a job in your major
Now’s the time to experiment and find out what an interesting job looks like to you. Sure, you have spent 4+ years devoting a large part of your life to studying one subject, but it doesn’t have to be the only career path you explore, especially if you’re not super excited to put your new accounting degree into practice. You likely haven’t been exposed to all of the possibilities in front of you yet, or considered careers in different sectors, so stay open to learning about anything that comes your way. You never know what exciting career path you could discover!
Your first job doesn’t have to dream job-- you probably don’t know what your dream job even looks like yet!
Unless you’ve spent a significant part of your undergraduate career actively working in internships or professional roles, you likely won’t know exactly what lights you up when it comes to your day-to-day work life. As long as company values align with your own, and the role is interesting to you, then dive in and learn as much as possible! Even if you end up pivoting to a different industry or role a year or two into your career, your first career role give you the fundamentals you’ll need to have a successful career. Best case scenario, you’ll be able to grow your career with your first company; worst case, you’ll add a ton of new skills to your resume and gain clarity on what you want in your next role.
If someone offers help, take it
When else in life will you have this much support behind you? If you’re fortunate enough to have a family or friends who can support you with things like a place to stay while you interview or introductions to their professional contacts, take them up on their offers! None of us got to where we are today without the help of other people, so don’t be shy about saying an enthusiastic, “yes!” to all of the help that is offered to you.