I had been meaning to write this post. So today I will.
Last week as I fed my blogbsession (aka blog obsession) I read an article that fed right into my post. Career? Uhhg, by Sierra. Her article touches some of the questions and uncertainties us millennials face upon graduating college.
Though this is not in direct response to her article, I wanted to give her credit for indirectly giving me that nudge to finally sit down to write this post. Thank you, Sierra!
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
Our generation was taught that if we did great in high school and then go on to a great four-year institution, it would earn us a great job that would take care of us! Great pay, great benefits, and a great retirement plan.
Yayyy, greatness! Yeah, no.
Our reality is far from that. Obtaining a four-year degree no longer guarantees a ‘well-paid’ job right out of college. I realize that not all four-year degrees weigh the same, but I won’t get into that right now. The point is our reality is a lot different than what the world thought it would be.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter WHY.
I briefly touched on this in my post, Who Am I Really? but to expand a little more, at the end of my four-year education, I was still not ready to graduate. I started as a pre-dental student, but somewhere along the years, my priorities changed. I was no longer motivated to dominate those horrid science classes and so I graduated with a BA (and a minor) that I hoped would land me a job in social services.
That didn’t happen. Instead, I walked into the fast-paced corporate world, where I had the opportunity to work alongside several Fortune 500 companies. And what a ride it’s been! I’ve learned a TON!
So five key pieces of humble advise from a more-experienced millennial to a recently-graduated millennial?
1. Stay open minded.
Unless you have plenty money to live off right out of college, you need a source of income. Don’t limit your options by only applying to positions that sound like your degree…. Marketing, sociology,business development, etc. Some positions may not be your dream job but can instead lead you to it. And if you are anything like me, I STILL had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated.
In fact, when I graduated I didn’t have a job waiting for me. So, I took a job as a bank teller! I figured I could work there until I secured something I actually wanted. But….I hated it. I hated it so much that one day I quit and never looked back. I didn’t have another job to fall back on. It’s not a move I’d recommend, but the job was emotionally draining and I needed out. Sorry not sorry! Long story. Onto the next job….
The point is, I gave it a chance.
2. Maintain a positive and determined mindset
Being mopey, angry, and stressed earned me my dream job, said no one ever! After a few dead-end interviews and no real work experience, I began wondering how much longer I’d have to wait. BUT, I didn’t let that defeat me. I kept a positive mindset and told myself that a good job would come. I knew it’d come. I just had to stay persistent
And it came. Within a month of me quitting my bank job, I had two job offers. One led me to social services, the other to corporate. Decisions, decisions….
3. Maintain an online presence.
I’m serious. Go open that LinkedIn account. Right. Now. I’ve heard this from managers countless times. They like to look up potential candidate on LinkedIn, and if you do not have a strong online presence, goodbye opportunity!
But be active. Expand your network by connecting with old classmates, colleagues, managers, professors, school groups, etc. LinkedIn also makes it easy to ask for recommendations to add to your profile.
I know many people who have gotten unexpected career opportunities via LinkedIn!
Be careful, though. Online presence can include blogs, Twitter, or Facebook, so be sure nothing negative, embarrassing, or political is splattered all over your account. This can do the exact opposite of earning you an opportunity.
4. Submit your resume to employment web sites.
Monster and CareerBuilder are two I’ve used extensively. This is probably the laziest thing you can do during your job search, but you’d be surprised how many great opportunities can stem from this! Upload that resume, and let themfind you! Basically.
Once upon time, I received a call from a third party vendor offering me an interview to a job that sounded too complex for me to understand. I was far from confident, but I showed up to at least ask questions. This ended up being my first real, big-girl job after I left that bank!
5. NEVER CLOSE A DOOR WITHOUT FIRST OPENING IT. NEVER!
If you can remember one piece of advice from this post, remember this one! You have no idea how many times I hear friends say they need a job, they’ll take anything, get a hold of them if you know of anything, bla bla bla….And then I do reach out. But instead I get hit with “Oh girl, sounds great but I don’t have a business degree. Sorry. I wish.”
Excuse me? Are you going to let me tell you that a business degree is not required, that the position I have in mind will train you 100%, and that I am reaching out to you because the only requirement is that you have a four-year degree, are trainable, and have motivation to succeed to turn this into a career opportunity, not just a job?
SLAM! They closed that door without even asking for more details. All they heard was the complicated title and business-sounding job description without asking any further. I’ve encountered this too many times.
JUST. DON’T. Had I done the same I wouldn’t be where I am today. And no, I do not have a business degree, remember?
So there you have it! I still have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life, but how many people do? All I know is that I have been successful in what I’ve done, and I’ve accomplished hellofalot considering I switched career paths during my junior year of college. I’ve connected with some of the most amazing and knowledgeable individuals along my career, and all have helped shape the professional woman I am today. Surround yourself with people who are smarter (or know more than) you! Learn from them.
Don’t get me wrong. My life does not revolve around my career, and my career does not define me. And I will purposely not talk about work outside of work unless I need to. My life comes first =)
Build your career…But First, Live!
Love, Success, and Happiness,