You did it. You graduated from college. Revel in it-no more grades, all-nighters, writing papers...everything from here is gonna be gravy-right?
Believe me, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here. I’m hardly a year out from graduating myself and I’m doing just fine.
But friends let me impart some wisdom upon you from the other side: whatever it is you’ve been waiting for to get started with your ‘real life,’ it’s time.
The world for the post-grad has changed quite a bit in the last decade or so. The student loan situation is an utter debacle (get up to speed w/ articles linked on Piglt’s facebook page), the job market sucks, and odds are you studied in a field that either a) requires a graduate degree to develop into a career or b) requires a ton of internship experience.
Maybe you took the initiative & built up your resume & connections. Maybe you can afford the time, energy, and money to apply for a graduate degree. Just for fun let’s assume you’re like almost everyone else and this isn’t the case.
So what are you gonna do??
Step 1: What are your skills? No fluff allowed. What can you do?
There is a lot of work out there for young people that understand social media, have strong writing skills, and can take the initiative to stay up with the times. These are three skills I believe every college student has the moment they graduate.
Step 2: Don’t panic. You still went to college and got educated. Somewhere in there beneath the freshman 15, the natty ice, and the frozen microwave chimichangas are some damned sophisticated thoughts.
What does this mean? It means that you are more than what you know now. You’re valuable because you know how to learn. Training is going to be the biggest part of any entry-level position, anywhere. This segues nicely into step 3.
Step 3: Get the chip off of your shoulder. This was (and is) the hardest thing for me to do as a young self-starter.
We all want to believe that our wealth of experiences in academia qualify us for special treatment in the professional world. Why wouldn’t we? It’s honestly what any college-bound student is taught to expect from day one. Study hard, excel, make a lot of paper. Formulae that simple can’t possibly miss the mark, right?
Wrong. Comparing a job with a college class is like trying to use a petri dish to recreate the BP oil spill. The reality is that as university students we are often even less qualified for the jobs we take out of school than someone coming out of a trade school.
Don’t get discouraged. If college students were such a liability to employers nobody would hire them, and that’s clearly not the case. When in doubt, consult step 2.
From what I’ve observed through my peers and in my own experience, grads are frequently hired because of who they are rather than what they do. So go clean up your facebook. Update that neglected linkedIn. Google your name. Do you know what your klout score is? Does your school have an alumni job network and have you ‘tapped that’?
Keep an open mind and you could be closer to that first job in the real world than you think.