I’ll admit that it took some time after I graduated to get a job in my field.
Okay, fine, it was so hard that I went BACK to uni and got a Master’s degree while I waited for an opportunity to present itself.
Even then, it still took me 6 months after graduating to find a job. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
Here are my take away tips for those of you struggling to find a job after graduating:
- There are many like you. Try not to compare yourself to so-and-so who graduated at the same time as you and is Executive Vice President of the International Headquarters of whatever. THEY are the minority.
- Don’t give up. It’s way too easy to say “this is too hard, I’ll never find a job” and stay in your current job forever. But trust me, you’ll regret it later and it will simply bring you further away from your goal. Where would you be if you’d started your search 6 months ago?
- Sell yourself. Seriously. Invest your time in learning the basics of selling. Having the most degrees won’t land you the job if you can’t sell your value to your interviewer.
- Know your VALUE. I’m not just talking about your degree. What do you bring to the table? The more value you appear to bring to the table, the more chance you have for a 2nd interview/stronger negotiation. Figure out what you have that others don’t.
- Have patience. Nothing worth having comes easily. All the best jobs may be filled right now, but they won’t be filled forever. Perhaps your ideal job is currently being filled by someone who is about to leave, creating an open door for you. Timing is everything.
- Some people are just lucky. There. I said it. Some people get the rich parents, the CEO family friend, or the grad position handed to them that keeps you awake at night. Don’t hate them. You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
- Don’t coast once you get the job. Or any job! You might hate it (BELIEVE me, I’ve been there), but use it as practice to sharpen your skills – hard work, perseverance, commitment to routine, customer service, defusing confrontation, etc.
- Always smile – you never know who you’re talking to. When I was in hospitality, I met a lot of people day to day from all walks of life. The one in designer isn’t always successful; the one in an old t-shirt could be the CEO.
- Keep an open mind. I once did door-to-door sales on a commission-only basis. I left home at 7:30am and got home at 7pm, Monday – Friday, sometimes Saturdays in rain, hail or shine because if I didn’t make sales, I didn’t get PAID. Without this experience, my sales and negotiation skills wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong as they are today.
- Landing the job is only half the battle. So you faked your way to the top? Good for you! Now put in the hours to evolve and prove why you are the best candidate, because chances are you’re on a probation and you only know how to do half of the things you claimed in your interview.
- Never stop learning. Sorry to be cliche, but one thing that will never go out of style is knowledge. Grow, challenge and expand your mind – especially if you don’t know what to do with your career or life! Chances are you’ll stumble across something you never knew existed and, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to create a career from your passion.
- Be the best. The best version of you that you can be. Whatever you decide to do with your life, it is yours and no one else’s. So don’t let other people dictate what “happiness” means to you. Only you know that. So find whatever that may be, and become the best ‘whatever-that-is’ that you can be.
- And finally, it will happen. It HAS to happen eventually. If all else fails, rely on the law of probability that eventually, a job that is right for you WILL come along. You just have to be in it to win it, so don’t give up.