You’re a Graduate! Now What

Congratulations to all of the new and soon-to-be grads out there! You've earned your degree through hard work, dedication, and a huge time investment, and you should bask in your success. As you take the next big step of moving into the working world, here's a bit of advice to get you started on your journey.

Recent research shows that most American adults switch careers five to seven times throughout their working lives. Remember, your first job out of the gate is a single step on a lifelong career(s) path. However, you will be perceived as a risk if you don't stay in a job long enough to earn your worth. While you can also be a wealth of new ideas for an organization that needs your skills and experiences, consider your movement between organizations wisely and understand the career world is small; never burn a bridge and maintain professional connections especially when you move away from a job.

Focus not only on what you want, but on what solutions you can provide. You must have a clear picture of your strengths and competencies so recruiters and employers can help you fit into a role in their organization. Instead of fixating on job titles, focus on finding and illustrating examples of concrete skills that you do well. Additionally, wherever you go, be ready to discuss how you bring value to an organization. You are responsible to market yourself in this ultra-competitive market, so show what you do well in an articulate conversation and demonstrate your emotional intelligence and your strengths.

Let your friends, family, and other well-wishers know what you do well so they know how to connect you with their circles of influence. Ask them to check their professional and personal networks to see if they can make a personal referral at places you want to work, and be sure to share your strengths story so your network has an easy to remember conversation to share with others that illustrates what makes you unique and employable.

For job seekers who don't have relevant experience, it's important to be flexible and start in a different area of the company from where you want to be. It's more beneficial to network instead of going back to school, so be flexible and willing to learn on the job. Likewise, when you do network with people you don't know, distinguish yourself by picking up the phone. Leave an articulate voice mail if necessary and use a script until it becomes second nature. The goal is to eventually meet in-person but a phone call is the best way to set yourself apart from the myriad of others in the job hunt.

Above all, walk tall and learn to speak with humble confidence about what you do well. Showcase your resilience and be ready to discuss how you have overcome challenges, including how you are dealing with a tough job market. Proving you are resilient may land you an opportunity. And celebrate the success you've earned - and be ready to work towards greater successes with incredible rewards down the road.

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