This is a guest post written from none other than Kathleen O'Neil.
Yeah, you know the tune, thanks Drake. For most of us, graduating college is a huge success and for the time being we feel on top of the world. Many of us have overcome the process of not only finding a college, getting accepted, creating a financial game plan, choosing a major, & graduating! You should be proud of yourself! College isn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t how the movies in the early 2000’s portrayed it. It was hard work.
There seems to be a trend in life though, starting near the bottom and working your way up to some type of climax. Think of high school: Naive freshman to big bad senior. College had a similar trend, freshman to senior, but what happens now....? What happens after college?
Well honey, welcome to the freshman class of the “real world”.
Here we are starting fresh once again. Some of us may find it defeating and some of us may view it as a new beginning. I strongly suggest, as with any new experience you dwell on the positives.
Here are some bits of advice I found most beneficial after coming off the high of graduating college. Trust me, people will throw a lot at you, so it is important to latch onto what works for you.
- Give it Time: Time heals most wounds they say and time is what it took you to earn your college degree. If you are one of the majority who didn’t have a job lined up right away after college, DO NOT PANIC. I have found both personally and from friends that most people who jumped into a position right away ended up dissatisfied. Having time after graduation to really feel out what you want to get involved in is rewarding.
- Yes, this might mean you take a few part time jobs or another unpaid internship. I worked two jobs before finding a job in my field. Even the first job in my field I landed wasn’t what I envisioned for myself, but it motivated me to continue my search. This made me appreciate my full-time middle school teaching position even more when I had landed it! If you put in the effort, good things will come in time.
- Network: At first I downright despised this advice. I wanted people to look at me for me! I wanted employers to see me for my degree, my GPA, my passion for wanting to help others & teach. I didn’t want to get a job just because of my connections… As my first year out of college progressed and I wasn’t in my ideal full-time teaching gig, I succumbed to trying this networking business.
- People in your field have experience in the real world (something most of us do not at this point in our lives) and more often than not, they want to help you get your feet on the ground. GPA is great, but nothing speaks to future employers more than hearing human testimony that you would be a good fit for the position.
- Don’t be too picky: Remember you are in a transition phase. More than likely you will need to take a few jobs that are not what you had in mind after earning your degree. Use these experiences as motivation to drive you to continue searching for what you want. Practicality is you need to be making money in some sense and you will feel more accomplished by earning something versus nothing.
- If you can find work within your field that might not exactly line up with your perfect job, take it. This increases your knowledge of your field as a whole and can be beneficial to the good ol’ resume.
- Enjoy: Finding a job is not easy. Being the freshman in the “real world” isn’t always our idea of fun, but once you transition out of college life the world opens up new opportunities. Whether this be in your living arrangements (even it is back home, this is time with family you won’t likely have again), learning a new skill set, meeting new people, finding a new love interest (hobby or person), or finally having an income to try new things.
The post-college life isn’t one to hang your head about, but to see the world as your new malleable adventure!
Best of luck in your job search & don’t forget to always follow the advice that speaks to you. Be positive and never give up, heck you got this far!
*If you haven't already, please go listen to some Drake ;)