You worked hard to earn the top marks and prove yourself both at college and in the professional work force. You’re ready to make your mark, get that great job, and start down a better path. And while your confidence is great, here are a few important things to keep in mind that will help you land and keep that first job.
There are no guarantees
If you struggle to find a job after you graduate from college, it’s easy to feel defeated. It’s natural to blame the school or program, the economy, or even the person who interviewed you for the job. Unfortunately there are no guarantees when it comes to education, and while a diploma or degree will definitely help, sometimes finding the right fit for your life and skills is challenging. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that your investment was a waste. If possible, contact your career center at your educational institution and see if they can provide you with any feedback or support. They may give you access to job postings you wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.
You won’t start at the top
It’s a cliché but it’s easy to forget that when you’re training to do a particular job, that doesn’t mean that’s the job you get right after college, which is part of why humility is essential to college grads. No matter what level of education have, all new hires start out at the bottom and have to earn respect at their new job. They can do that by being reliable and confident, and also by mastering the next few skills.
Practice receiving feedback and criticism
Just like in the classroom, if you want to improve your performance, you must learn to accept feedback and criticism. Training for a new job can feel vulnerable and intimidating. It’s hard to make mistakes in front of new coworkers and supervisors. Having the humility to accept feedback and adjust your performance accordingly is what will make you stand out among other applicants and new hires.
Learn to accept failure
What if you really mess up? Your first step is to be accountable and take responsibility for your mistakes. Shifting the blame to someone else might have worked in high school or college but in the workplace, employers don’t want to see a lot of finger pointing. They want employees who have the integrity to admit when they make an error and begin a discussion about how to fix the problem or improve their performance.
Ability to learn is more important than intelligence
The most important thing anyone learns at college or university is HOW to learn in the first place. There will always be someone smarter, more talented, or more experienced competing for the same job. What will set you apart is your willingness to embrace on-the-job learning, policy or leadership changes, new technology, and increasing workplace diversity.