While these inspiring word hold truth, they’re also vague. They hold no tangible advice about what to really do next.
You won’t be entering the same job market as ten or twenty years ago. Not everyone with a degree gets a dream job right away. In fact, 50 percent of workers surveyed by Workopolis in 2014 said it took about 16 weeks to get a job.
As you enter the workforce, you need a tactical plan to follow, otherwise you may lose direction.
Here are a few things you need to stay on track after graduation:
1. A mentor.
One of the smartest things you can do for yourself after graduation is find a mentor. A mentor can help you navigate the complex job market with plenty of insights from an older, wiser perspective. Ideally, this person should have a career similar to the one you want.
With the Internet and social media as resources, you don’t need to go far to find your mentor. Pick your favorite “you in five years,” and ask him or her to meet you for coffee. Ask questions like, “Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently at my age?”
2. A routine.
The freedom you have after graduating might seem awesome, but after a few weeks it can steer you into a productivity slump. Without the structure of school, you might be prone to spending your days playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or staying out late with friends, for weeks in a row.
This is not the time to neglect your health or binge #yolo moments. Instead, get into a routine. Go to bed at a reasonable time on week nights. Wake up early and go to a group exercise class. Eat healthy meals around the same time each day. Spend a few hours crafting or, if you haven’t already, refining your job search tools (resume, LinkedIn, portfolio).
3. A concrete job search plan.
Without a tactical plan, your job search might not execute well. Create a job search plan with goals you can hold yourself accountable for. Create a schedule and daily task list with deadlines.
For example, on Mondays you could spend two hours selecting five to ten positions to apply for. Tuesday, dedicate two hours to tailoring your resume and cover letter for these positions. On Wednesday, connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn, and send emails asking for more information about the positions.
4. A networking group.
Even before you graduate, you can join a networking group either at your school or an industry organization. Speak with as many professionals in your industry as you can about what they do, advice for breaking into the industry and available opportunities where they work.
New data released in March from LinkedIn reveals between 20 and 30 percent of new hires in industries, such as computer, software and management consulting are found through existing employees’ personal connections. The more people you connect with in your industry, the better your chances are of being recommended for positions in your field.
The transitional time between graduation and finding your first job can be confusing and filled with questions. That’s OK. Everyone goes through it. As long as you adhere to a plan and fill your life with supportive people, you’ll get your first job in no time.
What has been or was your greatest challenge seeking employment after graduation?
****Campus to Career thanks Val Matta for this great post!!****
Photo credit: Joshua Earle via UnSplash
About the author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.