For College Graduates Seeking a First Job

Five Strategies for a Successful Journey into the Professional World

Having a difficulty finding an interesting career? Experiencing a shortage of good jobs since graduating college?  Are you indecisive about your future or your chosen career?  Are you lacking confidence, professional skills, or direction?

Here is some good news – – you have yet to discover your untapped potential!  The completion of college is a major turning point, with exciting new challenges.  Within every individual is some unique talent waiting to manifest.  The bottom line is that if you love your work and yearn to add value, opportunities and rewards will follow.  The challenge is discovering a career with purpose – – where your valuable talents shine!  Additionally, we must get in the door of opportunity through good self-marketing skills.

Success will result from the value you offer and convey to the professional world.  Adapting to the rules and politics of the work world can seem discouraging at first.  However, every career choice you make is shaping the direction of your professional future.  Therefore, it is important to make career choices wisely, know your professional value, present your best self, and maximize your marketability.

Here are five principles to help you begin your success in the career world.

  1. Think “Value-Added” – Employers want to make the best choice of potential employees. Know your professional value and be able to demonstrate it at every interview.  Take inventory of your professional assets.  Insightfulness, creativity, integrity and perseverance may be just as valuable to a potential employer as credentials.  Most importantly, yearn to always progress in building your assets and professional worth.  In this modern economy, education and training are life long.
  2. Be mentally prepared at every interview – You will rise above the competition if you research the potential employer, and know the problem they are trying to solve. Role-play and mentally rehearse the interview, and prepare how you would answer key questions from the interviewer. Convey your concern for the employer and be an astute listener at every interview.  Prior to the interview, practice a brief breathing and relaxation exercise and mentally image a successful outcome of the interview.
  3. Become a self-marketing expert – In this modern economy, self-marketing will be a lifetime endeavor. Decide right now to always offer more than expected.  For every potential job opportunity, present your best self.  Learn self-marketing skills, write convincing cover letters, always have a polished and updated resume, and always send follow-up letters or thank you notes.
  4. There are many people and resources to help you – Networking is your key to success! There are scores of mentors, resource centers, colleagues, and potential contacts to help you succeed. Informational interviewing can enable you to meet and make contacts, and learn about potential careers.  The key is to show interest and gratitude from any one who is helpful in assisting your success.  Make lots of good contacts and never burn bridges.  The contacts you make may help you again in future job transitions.
  5. Get career tested and set a 5-year plan – You may be in the work world for 45 years or life. Career testing can optimize your self-knowledge of an ideal career path, and help you to set a plan of action to strive for. Career testing may help you pinpoint your key values, interests, characteristics of an ideal work environment, and the rewards you require for a lifetime of happiness.  A 5-year plan targets your ideal goals and sets you on a course for success.