College is over. You made it! But, this is just the beginning. As you enter the workforce, everyone is throwing advice at you. It is probably all worth listening to, but we have compiled five high-level tips to take seriously as you turn the page and enter this new chapter of life.
1. Find a mentor – and be coachable.
It can be anyone you respect (such as a professor, family friend or colleague), but find a trusted confidant to help guide you through your career. The first few years, especially, you may want to ask their opinion about navigating workplace relationships or advancing your career. With this mentor (and other respected professionals), listen more than you talk. What you learned in the classroom provides a foundation for your career, but the relationships you build and soft skills you gain in a professional workforce will set you up for future success
2. Make mistakes.
You have probably been trained to avoid making mistakes. However, it is hard to really learn a lesson if it wasn’t preceded by a blunder. The idea here is that you can take risks (within reason) and make mistakes as long as you learn from them. You may think you know everything you need now that you are a college grad, but it is only the beginning. Another tip when it comes to mistakes is that you take them seriously. Own up to them to your boss and coworkers, and make sure you do not make the same mistake twice. It is not a mistake if you knew it was not a good idea before you did it.
3. Put your best foot forward.
You never know what might seal the deal for a job prospect. This means customizing your cover letter and resume every time you apply for a new job. It means dressing to match the company culture when you go to the office for an interview. It even means being engaging when interacting with other professionals once you have landed the job. You should try to always be “on” because your next opportunity may come out of nowhere.
4. Find a point of distinction.
Figure out what your strengths are and double down on them. In fact, pick one or two that distinguish you from the pack. Then, focus on making these attributes stronger; after that, market them. You will find a company that values what you bring to the table. Think about it: You do not want to settle for any job regardless of the situation. You want to work for a company that appreciates what you can bring to the table and one that will help you build on your strengths, so you can continue to deliver excellence to them.
5. Stay positive – and patient.
You might be in a rush to find your dream job but realize you will likely work for a few decades – so you have time. It might not happen right away. In fact, it probably will not, and that is OK. It is a long journey, so try to enjoy the ride. Make sure to keep a good attitude along the way as well. It will certainly make the journey more pleasant and probably get you to your destination faster.
There is a plenty of advice out there, but take these five tips to heart and they will set you up for success in your near (and further) future.