Bon voyage and best of luck! Following are fifteen pieces of real world advice I want to share with you as you transition from college to career:
1. Go for it! Don't delay the job search after graduation as you may not realize that it takes several months, so if you haven't already started, start now.
2. Know yourself. Know your passion, strengths, aspirations and what you want out of life. You are in charge of your career. Know there are many ways to express your passion in a career and there are multiple paths.
3. Know the organization. Do your homework and research the organization to understand the culture and what the employer seeks.
4. Build relationships. Find professionals in your industry and seek their advice and guidance by asking good questions. You can learn how they got a foot in the door and how they grew their career. They may also have other contacts for you.
5. How you present yourself is key to your success. Share your story that demonstrates your interests, experiences, accomplishments and special qualities.
6. Let go of limiting beliefs and take risks. Have a positive outlook as that will impact everything. You may need to take some risks and from them you will always learn something whether you succeed or fail.
7. Not all advice is good advice. Your parents and friends may have good intentions, but know that in a changing economy, the job search process has changed. Seek advice from professionals and career experts who have a pulse on the job market.
8. Apply for jobs that are a good fit. Don't jump at the first job offer if you are not excited about it. You may feel pressure to take the first job you are offered in order to pay the bills, but research shows that you won't last long. When you are motivated by a job, you end up accomplishing more and feeling more satisfied.
9. Create a strong online profile. Polish your LinkedIn profle as today more recruiters are sourcing for candidates online. Make sure to show your strengths and what is unique about you.
10. Have perserverance in the job search. If you are not chosen for a job, look at it as a learning experience and understand that the hiring process is complex and not an even playing field. Ask yourself if you are presenting your best self in the interview. If so, accept the loss and move forward.
11. Your attitude, energy and outlook matter. Be aware of yourself and demonstrate with enthusiasm the strengths you bring to the table. Also, stay on top of market trends and what employers seek in job candidates.
12. Exhibit a professional demeanor: Dress professionally and be aware of basic manners. Stand out from the crowd by being polished and polite.
13. Manage your expectations. Although you may be ready to leap to a higher position, accept the fact that you may need to take the necessary steps to position yourself for the future. The more you do to master your job, make a contribution and prove yourself, the greater are the opportunities to grow your career.
14. Your first job is a starting point. Your first job is not about making a decision for the rest of your life, but see it as a jumping off point towards your future.
15. A career is not a straight, but windy path. Discover what you like and do well that aligns with your values and this will serve you well throughout your life.
Andrea Wolf is Director of Simmons Career Education Center