4 Pieces of Career Advice for Fresh Graduates

Did you just graduate from college and wonder what’s next?

Every year in the U.S., about 4 million students leave college having earned their degrees, and ready to enter the workforce. Unfortunately, even though the unemployment rate is relatively low, a vast majority of fresh graduates don’t walk right into their dream jobs. In fact, it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months for new grads to find a job.

As you start your professional life, you certainly could do with a helping hand. That’s the whole point of this article. We’re sharing pieces of career advice that will help you start off on the right foot.

1. Research the Job Market in Your Profession

Labor markets vary from profession to profession. At a given time, there could be great demand for workers in a certain profession and low demand in another profession. The state of the labor market in your profession will determine how quickly you’ll find employment and even, to some extent, your salary.

When you’re a fresh graduate, it’s understandable that you’re looking forward to getting hired as soon as possible. However, if that doesn’t happen, you could lose hope of getting a job and your interest in the profession may decline. This is why it’s super important to do some research and establish what’s happening in the job market.

The information you find can help you make other important career decisions. For example, if the demand for workers who have your education/skills level is low, you may decide to further your education and gain more competence. This will help make you more attractive to employers in your field.

2. Build Your Professional Presence Online

98 percent of college students are on social media, so you’re no stranger there. But how have you been using your social media pages?

Like most college students, it’s all about the fun and good times on your social page. Nothing wrong with that, as nobody gives a hoot about what you’re doing on social media. But once you’re a graduate, things change. Most employers are recruiters conduct social media background checks as part of a job candidate’s evaluation.

Do you want a potential employer to see your wild-drinking escapades? Before you start hunting for a job, take time to clean up your social media posts. Your goal is to build a good personal brand as a professional.

Now is also the time to look into some social media channels that you may have passed over as being too boring. Yes, it’s time to join LinkedIn. If you already have but can’t remember the last time you made an update, get to work!

Many online job applications now require applicants to provide a link to their LinkedIn profile. You don’t want recruiters to use what they find on your profile as a reason to reject your application.

3. Don’t Be Too Picky With Jobs

New graduates have big career expectations. You want to start off with a fat salary. Or perhaps you want to work in a fancy office.

Expectations are not bad, but the job market has a brutal way of bringing most new grad’s expectations down to earth. There are exceptional cases, but no one is going to pay you the salary you want straight off college. You have to earn it, and that can take a couple of years.

That’s why you need to have realistic expectations and resist the temptation to be picky with jobs. Make no mistake, though. We’re not saying you grab the first job offer that comes your way regardless of what it’s offering.

The point is to know how to spot a decent job opportunity and not let it pass. You should be able to make compromises here and there. Remember, it’s not all about the salary when you have a job offer. You could gain valuable experience that you’ll use as a tool to negotiate better terms in your next job interview.

Similarly, don’t shy away from moving to smaller cities and towns in search of better job opportunities. The allure of a big city is unmatched, but it also means competition for jobs is fierce. Plus, the cost of living in big cities is much higher, so taking up a job with lower pay in a small city isn’t all that bad.

4. Get a Mentor

A mistake most new graduates make is thinking they only need a mentor for career advancement. The truth is a mentor is an invaluable resource even for a fresh graduate. Among other benefits, they can help you find your way in a crowded and competitive labor market.

The only question here is how to find an ideal mentor. First, this should be someone in your profession; someone who’s walked the journey you’re about to walk.

Start by looking at the people who’re close to you. If you have someone in your family who’s in your profession, reach out to them and ask if they’d like to mentor you.

Keep in mind that they don’t have to be at the pinnacle of their careers for them to be a good mentor. Even someone who’s been in the profession for a few years can be an effective mentor. They can give you insider career tips you won’t find anywhere.

Joining a professional association will also open up your chances of finding a good mentor. Find a top Honor Society in your college and join it if you hadn’t already done so. You’ll link up with like-minded professionals and possibly find a mentor.

Make the Most of This Career Advice

Graduating from college is a big achievement. It marks the beginning of another important chapter: career and work life. Use these pieces of career advice to prepare yourself for the workforce and gain a competitive advantage. 

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