She Believed She Could so She Did
Congratulations! You did it!
For some of us, a job offer was made before we walked across the stage this year. So proud of you! May you continue to flourish during your Blessing Season. But for many of us, we have the degree but aren’t necessarily prepared career wise. Well now is not the time to hit panic as you see your friends enjoy the fruit of their new found 60 hour work weeks. I am no career guru but I can offer you a few tips I have learned along the way to make your transition from college to career a little easier.
OATMEAL IS BETTER THAN NO MEAL
I get it. You have loans and you clearly need to pay them back. That entry level starting salary was NEVER a part of the plan. But sometimes those entry level positions can unlock doors to salaries, promotions, and references you would have never imagined. There may be a bit of a sacrifice in the beginning. But as the saying goes, It gets greater later. With the right game plan, make your entry-level position work for you.
Recent Graduate Positions
There are quite a few companies and agencies who offer internships and positions specifically for people who have recently graduate within the past 1 to 2 years. For example, our federal government offers a Recent Graduate Program. When searching for jobs make sure to check out programs specifically for recent graduates.
Volunteering within your degree field
“Sis, didn’t you just say oatmeal is better than no meal?” Hear me out. Some of you interned every summer during your collegiate career. Unfortunately, there are others who did not take advantage of internship opportunities. You are now considered a recent graduate with NO EXPERIENCE. I am not saying you will have to volunteer 40 hours of your time. But gaining experience needed within your field at 5 or even 10 hours a week looks A LOT better than no experience at all. I would suggest Volunteer Match as a great way to start. Type in a job title you are comfortable committing your time doing and you will see results closely related within you area. Some organizations offer remote positions as well.
SUCCESS IS THE SUM OF SMALL EFFORTS REPEATED DAILY
If you know you aren’t proficient in Microsoft Access or Excel, enroll in a class to master it. If your job field requires you to use a certain software you aren’t familiar with, LEARN IT! Professional development doesn’t have to start on the job. Never stop adding value to what you have to offer.
I tread lightly on the suggestion of graduate school. I do not believe in adding more debt. But I do believe in enhancing your chances of getting the career of your dreams. A Master’s degree and better is needed in some job fields. One way to alleviate cost is to work for a College who offers their graduate programs to their employees for free. There are also other companies who offer tuition reimbursement.
IT’S NOT WHO YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO KNOWS YOU
Join a Professional Organization
It is very important to join a professional organization related to your degree and/or career choice. Most professional organizations offer recent grad and/or student rates at a substantial discount compared to regular annual fees. I would suggest CareerOneStop as a great way to find professional organizations tailored to your career choice.
I would also suggest joining your local alumni chapter. You will be quite surprised the amount of support you will receive from people who have something so sacred in common with you. Majority of Alumni Organizations offer discounts for recent graduates as well.
Honorable Mention: A great way to network and meet people with interest similar to yours and keep you plugged in career wise is an awesome website called Meet-Up. Meet-Up offers various groups for people with similar interest.
Note: It is imperative that we do not pay fees and collect emails month to month. STAY ACTIVE! Try to make time for the monthly meetings. If there is a community service event or workshop…GO!
IF NOT ME, WHO? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
A small nugget of advice for all: NEVER STOP THE HUSTLE! Companies merge, restructure, and layoff EVERY YEAR! Never become complacent at any company or position. Always have a back up plan to the back up plan. Continue to network and build an arsenal of professional connections. Continue personal & professional development to perfect your skills. Now go claim your Blessings! Go Sis!