If you just graduated from college, consider yourself lucky. You’re entering the workforce at an amazing time. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, there are more than 7 million available jobs, and starting salaries for new college graduates are higher than they were just a few years ago.
Considering all this good news, starting and maintaining your career should be easy, right? Not exactly. You’ll still have to put in the work to get your career where you want it to be.
If you just graduated from college and are starting your career, here are some invaluable tips to get your career started right.
Build Your Network
It’s cliché, but your career is largely dependent on who you know. But since you’re fresh out of college, you may not know many people in your industry. That’s why it’s so important to start building your professional network right away. Begin by getting active on LinkedIn. Join groups relative to your profession and create some online relationships. You also need to interact with peers in person. Networking events are a great way to meet new people in your industry. Find some networking events in your area (there are some great ones designed specifically for young professionals) and strive to attend at least one every few months.
Continue Your Education
Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean you should stop learning. The most successful people continue to learn new things throughout their career. Webinars, seminars and online courses through sites like Lynda.com and Skillshare.com are all great resources for continuing your education. Also, set a goal to read at least one book per quarter that will further your professional development.
You undoubtedly have dreams about where you want your career to go. But if you expect to immediately start shooting up the career ladder, you may need to temper your expectations. Career advancement doesn’t happen overnight. You must prove your worth first. The best thing you can do is learn new skills and continually add to your responsibilities. Your hard work will dictate how far you go in your career.
Build Your Personal Brand
The truth is, most people don’t spend their entire career in their first job after college. You will most likely eventually move on. So, start preparing for your career future now. That means cultivating a personal brand. Creating a personal brand will help you promote yourself and tell potential employers about your expertise. First, utilize your LinkedIn profile. Complete every section, focusing on any collegiate accomplishments that are relevant to your career. As your career progresses, continually add new accomplishments. Then, contribute content to sites like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium to establish your expertise in your field. Depending on your industry, you may even consider creating a personal website that has a portfolio of your work.
Find a Mentor
Seek someone in your field with an established career to learn from. A mentor has already achieved what you’re striving toward, so they can offer valuable career advice on how to get where they are. They can also help you avoid the mistakes they’ve made in their career. And, most importantly, they will be honest with you — sometimes you need to hear the hard truth in order to succeed.
Find What Motivates You (Besides Money)
Compensation will always be a top motivator throughout your career. After all, it’s the primary reason you come to work. But you also need to determine what else motivates you so you can end up in a career doing something you truly enjoy. Maybe you’re a sales rep who likes the adrenaline of chasing prospective clients, or a real estate agent who is rewarded by helping someone find the home of their dreams — whatever it is, find something in your career that makes it all worthwhile.
Gain a Partner in Your Job Search
When you work with a recruiter at Burchard & Associates, we become a partner during your job search. Once we identify opportunities that align with your career goals, we act as an advocate, telling employers the benefits of hiring you. Search our available jobs or contact us to learn more.