Ask Rhonda: So You've Just Graduated. Now What?

June 28 - Rhonda Vetere

So you just spent four years in college, learning more about yourself and exploring what your career path will look like. Now what?

Now, it’s time to take all of that knowledge and make it your reality; the next chapter of your growth. With all of the noise from people around you to get a job, you’re feeling overwhelmed and pressured to not let them down.

Here are some recommendations to quiet the noise and make the best of your time.

Leverage your connections. Start thinking about who you know. You’ve built connections with no doubt hundreds of people throughout your undergrad experience. Where do they work? What do they like and dislike about their jobs? Making the most of the knowledge you already have is key to finding yourself amongst the confusion that is the vast job market.

If finding a job immediately after graduation is proving difficult, get an internship while you’re on the hunt. Building practical experience is key and a good reference goes along way when applying.

Network. Take a “less-than-dream” job or an internship to obtain skills necessary to land that dream job. Your first job, for most, is not the end-all-be-all. Expose yourself to as much as possible.

I spent time initially in a completely different role than where I am today. My transition came only because my manager saw qualities within me that led him to believe I was qualified for bigger. He moved me over to technology, and I’ve never looked back.

Dress for success. While your outer self by no means determines your worth or abilities, it’s important to outfit yourself in a manner that fills you with confidence and leaves others with a positive first impression.

Practice interviewing. The skill of giving a good interview is something that even those with years of experience haven’t mastered. The key to a good interview is creating a dialogue. Rather than placing yourself at the receiving end of every question, ask questions in return, and view yourself as an expert at what you do. Go in with the mentality that if you’re not the right fit for the company you’re interviewing for, that’s in no way an insult to your skillset. This should replace your nervousness with the confidence necessary to thrive in your interview.

Take time separate from work to grow your mental and physical health, as well. You’re still discerning who you want to be. It’s crucial to invest in getting to know yourself further while you’re in the land of making large decisions for your life. Pour time into developing your mental health first, for your work won’t be helpful to anyone if you’re not mentally healthy.

Continue to be confident in everything you do. Believing in yourself - and demanding that same level of respect from others - will take you far. Your success can only go as far as you believe you’re capable of. Push through to your dreams, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it along the way. You’ll witness so many others being afraid to pick up the phone and call to ask for help. Be unafraid and courageous.

Regardless of what career path you take or what large changes will occur, it’s important to remember that mistakes are bound to happen. Some of your choices won’t pan out as well as you intended, and that’s okay. As long as you have the wisdom to learn and grow from your mistakes and missteps, you’re on the right path. Lead with confidence and give yourself grace as you learn.

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