You’ve just graduated. You shed a tear or two during the valedictorian’s speech. You cleared out your dorm room. And you said goodbye to your favorite hangout spot in the quad. Now it’s time to go out and conquer the world.
It might seem all fun and exciting at first with the idea of starting a new chapter in your life.
However, I can guarantee you that without proper preparation and planning, being a graduate might just end up being a living nightmare. Below are a few tips and guidelines that should help you navigate the tricky waters that your new status has just thrown you into.
Following them will not guarantee you a job on the spot. But it will significantly increase your chances of achieving each and every one of your career goals. So dear fresh grads, here is how to plan your career path.
You just graduated, now what?
First things first, you need to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that graduating from college or university is no mean feat. Therefore the first thing you need to do is to give yourself a pat on the back. You made it. And you deserve to be proud of that.
With the sentiments out of the way, it’s now time to get down to business. Before we get into tips on how to plan your career path, it is important to understand that every career is different. As a result, there is no fixed template on what to do as a fresh graduate.
However, there are a few steps that you can take that will work whether you have an engineering degree or a freelance photography diploma.
1. Make an actual plan and set your goals
Before you go out there filling in applications and getting your résumé in order, you first need to sit and deeply think about your life. Set career goals with actual timelines and try to work out how you intend on achieving each and every one of them.
Life is not perfect and chances are that you won’t be able to strictly stick to your timeline. However, having the actual plans in mind (and on paper) helps to keep you focused.
2. Get as much experience as possible
They say that experience is the best teacher. And I say that experience is the best way to lay a firm foundation for your career goals. Don’t be afraid to start up small and build your way up to the top.
Take intern positions. Try work shadowing. Participate in campaigns and activities in line with your career goals. In addition to getting to learn through firsthand experience, you will also end up with a pretty impressive looking résumé.
3. Find your niche
These days, more and more people are graduating from college. This leaves you with very few opportunities in a seemingly saturated market, the keyword here being ‘seemingly’. If you want to successfully plan your career path, you have no choice but to find your niche.
You cannot get away with being generic especially with so much competition in the market. Figure out what you are good at and most importantly what you like. Then work your back off to find your place.
4. Consider grad school
The final important tip for you to have as a fresh grad is to consider grad school. After your real world experiences and your soul searching have pointed towards a specific niche, grad school should definitely be something on your mind. This help to equip you with the specific requisite skills to be a professional in your chosen career field.
As with the experience, it also looks good on paper allowing you to market yourself whether you are looking for a job or you are looking to create jobs.
In conclusion, there are a few things that you need to know as a fresh grad trying to learn how to plan your future.
First of all, it is not going to be easy. But if you work hard, stay true to yourself and keep an open mind, eventually you will end up not only where you want to be but also where you need to be.