Congratulations. You have made it through college and now you have a degree. That is the hardest part over. Now its time to leap into the future.
As a new college graduate myself, I know how tough it can be straight after graduation. You have spent the years working hard for what you have achieved and expect to be able to put it straight to use when you graduate. However, it is not always that easy. Sometimes we are lucky and have a job secured during our college time, such as a research position with the college or a contact that has offered you a position once you graduate. Most of us do not have that sort of easy ride however, and once we graduate, we are faced with the challenge of finding a job.
The worst part of being a new graduate is that you are now eligible to apply for all the positions you have dreamed about applying for, but at the same time, most of them are asking for experience you may not yet have had. So you end up torn: I have the degree, but not the experience. How can people expect a new graduate to have actual experience? Sometimes we do have the opportunity to have some practical training during our college days, but for many courses, you walk out into the real world with absolutely no idea on how to apply most of what you have learnt.
So the best advice I can give is this: Firstly take some time for yourself to have a bit of a break. The best thing to do straight after you graduate is take a bit of a holiday, have some relaxation time and rejoice in what you have achieved. You will be surprised how important this ‘me’ time is when you actually start a job in your chosen career. It helps you to feel less overwhelmed in the beginning. Secondly, start applying to everything you can find. A lot of graduates have a perception of walking straight into a great job the moment they are qualified. But it does not work like this. Instead, you will have to put in the hard yards for an entry level position for a while, to get that valuable training. You will rarely ever get your dream job straight out of college. Instead, you will have to do your time in one of those challenging jobs that take you right out of your comfort zone. However, this time is important because it teaches you valuable skills that you will definitely appreciate in the future.
Once you start applying for positions, make sure you have everything organized. Your resume is highly important. It lists your skills and experiences and is pretty much your way to sell yourself before you can do so in person. A good resume gets you an interview. Then, the next step is to make sure you are ready for the interview. Ensure that you know what to expect in an interview situation. Ask for advice from people in similar careers, and learn as much about the company you are applying for as you can. The more knowledge you seem to have, the better you will appear in your interview. Have some pre-prepared answers ready for any likely questions you expect to be asked. This saves the completely stunned mullet effect taking over. And remember, you are a new graduate and any good employer will understand that this means you have a lot to learn, so ensure that you let them know how much you are eager to get some practical experience and how you cannot wait to actually start a position in the field. This assures the employer that you are keen and want to advance.
Now remember, do not get discouraged if it takes you months to find a job. This happens to even the most qualified new graduates. Once you secure that first job it will be easier so if it takes time that first time, it will be worth it in the long run. Patience is the best method for you at this stage in your career.