Dear Graduate – Time to Get Your First “Real” Career Job:
It's graduation season, and that also means hiring season.
I remember the moment when it was time to go after my first career-focused job. For me, it was right out of college. For others, that first professional job may follow an internship, graduation from technology school or a progression up the ladder from an entry-level job at a company to your target job.
Graduation is a time of both exhilaration and terror as you step off into a mysterious future, one for which you’ve hopefully been working toward for several years.
If you are seeking your first professional job, my hope is that you’ve gained experience working in an entry-level job and learned the basics of how to work. Those early jobs teach you valuable skills such as simply getting to get work on time every day, working nights, weekends and even holidays, learning to work for good bosses and bad bosses, learning from wonderful mentors and annoying co-workers and serving both kind and angry customers with a smile.
Also, I hope you have held an internship with a company in your potential career field which enabled you to see your “dream job” from a new perspective – the inside out. I hope you are ready to start at the bottom of your target company and work your way up, because there is so much to learn climbing a company ladder.
I hope you have trained for this position either in college, at a tech school or through on-the-job training. Too many young people believe they can just walk in the door and be hired – no, you must have the proper training. Certainly, companies will train you to some degree, but you must know the basic skills of your target to get that job.
Get ready to work hard to get this first professional job – it is no gift. Build a network of family, friends and previous employers to support you. Make certain your social media assets are professional. Companies will be looking at your social accounts; will they see the person they want to hire? Remember the low tech advantages of using the telephone and meeting a prospective employer in person. Keep trying and be flexible; even if the job isn’t ideal it is a starting place. And don’t become discouraged if it takes some time.
Remember, you are aiming for your first professional job, not necessarily your dream job. Plan, learn and be willing to take a few risks to get that first “real” job, which can put you on the path where your dreams can come true.