In last week’s blog issue we discussed a common topic: what to do when you are a recent graduate without any work experience. We reviewed a couple steps you could take to ease the transition from a full-time school schedule into the working world, such as volunteering, networking and starting to look for a job before you finish school.
There are other things you could do to secure a position that will help you build the career that you want.
Turn the negatives into positives. Not having a job during school is not necessarily a bad thing. Highlight how focused you were (are) as a student and how handling multiple assignments helped you build multi-tasking and project management skills. Your school projects can also be relevant experience. Talk about that one time you had a project crisis and you solved it. Talk about collaboration with others, time management and working under pressure. Your non-professional experience is still experience if you present it that way.
It will also be helpful if you are prepared to work for less and work things backwards: know where you want to be and keep informed of the steps that take you there. A former university professor gave me advice that I found extremely helpful when I first started looking for jobs: “attack the company”. If there is an organization that you would like to work for or that could provide you with your dream job, try to apply for any position within that company that could give you the chance to prove yourself and work your way up to your ultimate goal. For example, you know you want to be an HR Director. In order to get there, you will need to be an HR Manager first, and before that, a Generalist or Specialist. However you may need to start as an HR Assistant or Coordinator to build the necessary skills. A lot of companies prefer to promote from within and being in the company will allow you to prove yourself and to be one of the first considered individuals for higher level jobs. You can also ask for extra projects and shadow individuals in desired positions to have an idea of what is expected.
Ultimately, it is vital to be open. Opportunities come unexpectedly and at any time someone in your network may introduce you to a valuable new connection, bringing you a step closer to your goal. And if you don’t know what your goal is or what you want to do, that’s ok. You just finished school; you have your entire life to figure that out. You may be the type of person that wants to try a lot of things before settling on something specific and that’s fine. But whether you have a specific goal in mind or you have no idea what you want to do, remember to be open minded and seize opportunities when they arise.
Good luck in your new career adventures!
by Sandra Stepan, Employer Liaison, Monthly Blogger for Agilec