We all start our university life with high hopes and dreams. We dream of graduating at the top of the class and expect that it will pave the way for a wonderful and fulfilling career. For most university graduates or who are about to graduate, the sky is the limit. That is, until reality strikes!
Our priorities change, and we get distracted from our goals. Some graduates take up any employment they can find (even if it doesn't match their field of study) as money becomes a top priority. Others become overly focused on developing an active social life. And by the time they come to their senses of building their career that ship has already sailed.
Therefore, it's essential to give career advice to college graduates. In fact, it's needed more than ever before, given the current global economy, which is now in the midst of a recession due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has devastated the global economy, which was already in a downturn before the illnesses hit many countries. The job market has become incredibly competitive than at any time before, and thousands are being laid off or asked to take unpaid leave or work from home.
Speaking of competition, new graduates will face intense competition when looking for jobs because they'll be competing with people who have been made redundant due to coronavirus. Moreover, more than half of hiring managers believe that new college graduates don't have the necessary skills or aren't prepared for the working world, such as networking, communication, and leadership qualities. Said that there are plenty of lucrative opportunities new graduates can take advantage of despite these clear obstacles.
We understand that recent graduates are naïve and have little idea of what's best for them. Therefore, to help them out, we have listed ten powerful career advice that every university student needs and must be working on.
Let's get to it:
10 Career Advice Every New University Graduate Needs To Know
- Seek Internship Opportunities
- Participate In Work-Study Programs
- Hone Your Skills, Knowledge, And Strengths
- Build Relationships Even If You Don't Need Them Now
- Adapt To Your Employer's Communications Preferences Early On
- Make Everyone Aware Of Your Strengths And Awesomeness
- Develop Your Personal Brand And Fiercely Promote It
- Be Relentless And Responsive
- Stay Focused
- Learn How To Manage A Project, Deliver A Presentation, And Put A Strategy Into Action Early On
1. Seek Internship Opportunities
Internships are great to gather hands-on, valuable experience in any industry. However, to get the most from your internship, ensure that it reverberates with your career aspirations. For instance, if you aspire to become an investment banker or financial advisor, it is required that you seek an internship in a major bank or financial institution. Internships are available in all local businesses and larger corporations. To be hired as an intern, ask your professors, classmates, friends, family, and your academic advisors if they can refer to anybody looking for interns.
You can also search for various career or internship fairs, as is typical for companies to use it to hire candidates. Search the internet or career websites for internship openings. You can also contact employers or a company's human resources department to find if they're interested in recruiting interns.
2. Participate In Work-Study Programs
In addition to an internship, another approach to make you employable is to take part in various work-study programs offered by colleges and universities. These programs provide undergraduate or graduate students part-time job opportunities, which help them earn money to fund their studies and help them gain valuable experience and knowledge in their field and their communities.
3. Hone Your Skills, Knowledge, And Strengths
Companies want to recruit candidates with skills and experiences. Make the best of your college days to expand and hone your skills and knowledge. Take elective courses that will help you in your future career aspirations. For example, if you want to teach, get enrolled in a tutoring centre or tutor school-going students. You can also work as a teaching assistant in your college if there are programs for it. All these will help you develop your skills, knowledge, and creativity.
4. Build Relationships Even If You Don't Need Them Now
Build relationships with team leaders and other key managers and executives relevant to your industry, even if you don't need it right away. There are plenty of discussions on the importance of building meaningful relationships for finding jobs, and we can't emphasize enough. Furthermore, waiting for something until you need, especially during a crisis, is a real buzz killer, and hardly anything good or substantial comes from it. Instead, it's damaging for relationship building, so avoid it. Build relationships during an opportunity, not in the midst of a calamity.
5. Adapt To Your Employer's Communications Preferences Early On
If you can adapt your working and communications style to better match your boss's work style and communication preferences, you become someone who is not only easier to manage and work with. Even more importantly, you become indispensable to the company's workforce. And believe me—that's awesome! The sooner you adapt, the better. This becomes more crucial while working with a "difficult boss," which is inevitable as you progress in your career. Knowing effective managing techniques will help you navigate this precarious situation, ultimately determining your success and failure in the company.
6. Make Everyone Aware Of Your Strengths and Awesomeness
Sometimes lack of experience can be an asset, but you should know how to use it. If you've been in the game for some time, you'll realize that nobody has to know everything to take on a project or task. If you have a unique idea or a solution to a problem, don't hold it back. Instead, sharing or challenging it might be a better way. Your inexperience can be a precursor to revolutionary ideas or innovation, so use it as leverage. For example, if you've come up with a fix in your company's online shopping app that improves package tracking, share that with your team. Be a volunteer in an area where you excel, and don't hesitate to make your voice heard.
7. Develop Your Personal Brand And Fiercely Promote It
Global brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's are the world's envy because they evoke certain thoughts and emotions in consumers whenever they see or think of them. To have a successful career and be wanted in your field, you should create a personal brand. Your name should have an impact on your employers when they hear it. Find out what your strengths are and what you do best. Determine what your future boss will think about when they see your name.
Having said that, work on building your personal brand and promoting it. The way you write, communicate, work, dress, or network—anything can be a tool for underpinning your personal brand. Even your website or email syntax can be a part of your personal brand.
8. Be Relentless And Responsive
If you get a request, respond to it within a few hours, or minutes if possible. If you're in the middle of something or lack the needed information or time to get the job done, it's perfectly fine. But, respond to it promptly by letting your sender know that you received the email and working on it. Also, don't forget to mention when they'll expect a complete response. Your consistent responsiveness will raise your credibility with your seniors.
9. Stay Focused
Nothing is more important than staying focused on your career goals and aspirations. Don't let anything veer you away from it; instead, utilize your skills and experiences to guide and propel you to your future plans. Your mistakes will be valuable for learning and gaining experience and knowledge. Moreover, these mistakes will help develop resolutions in case you find yourself in similar situations in the future. Always focus on the positives even if you're amidst an aggravating circumstance such as an austere manager or an unsatisfying position. Remember, these experiences will be instrumental in helping you become a better professional in your field.
10. Learn How To Manage A Project, Deliver A Presentation, And Put A Strategy Into Action Early On
The applicability of these three aptitudes are broad and multi-dimensional. Regardless of the industry or field you're working, having any significant weaknesses in any capacities in any one of these—you risk limiting making any significant progress in your career. Therefore, it's imperative that you invest in a career expert who will mentor you in these areas. You can also consider getting some training in these fields as well.
Said that you'd come across countless situations where your capabilities and shortcomings will be tested and how well you perform in these critical areas will determine your position and competence within the organization. Therefore, to stay ahead of the curve, develop proficiencies competencies in these areas early on.
There is great advice we can give to university graduates entering the workforce for the time. In addition to these, graduates should stay motivated, strive for excellence, actively seek and create opportunities, be proactive in social media for opportunities, not sending emails or deliverables with compromised grammar or typos, and many more. Last but not least, these nuggets of advice, if you stick to, will help you in your relentless pursuit of a fulfilling career.
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