It’s been a year since I walked into my little office for the first time, eager for the start of something new *cue Gabriella and Troy’s duet*
Cute outfit *check*
First day of school pukey anxious feeling *check*
I waited a few months after graduating college to embark on the pursuit of my first job and it was a LONG process of automated emails, unread applications, and phone calls soaked in rejection. Lots of them. More than I can count. If I had a dime for every application I submitted that I didn’t get a response back from, I’d have my student loans paid off by now.
BUT THERE WILL BE A DAY. There will be a day when you get a phone call to schedule an interview, you’ll walk in there with a quiet confidence, a strong handshake, and a portfolio of your previous work and accomplishments, from dumb class projects to internship experiences you didn’t get paid for. You’ll sit down with a smile and offer crisp copies of your beautiful résumé to share with the interviewers, complete with a list of references who will proudly vouch for you. Seriously, if you don’t have this stuff with you during your interview, shoot me an email. I’d love to help make your application look FAB. THIS IS REAL LIFE, SWEETHEART. Job Hunt 101.
After you kill your interview, you’ll get the call with a job offer and you’ll cry with relief knowing that you aren’t a complete failure. Then you’ll jump into the world of corporate America and start making that dough minus taxes. Welcome to the rest of your life.
I learned a few things over the past year at my first post-grad job, and I hope you realize this is NOT an expert’s guide to being a young professional. I’ll be figuring that out until I retire…if I retire. BUT I hope this gives you some *ReLaTaBLe* insight into the awkward transition between educated and graduated to professional and hungry-for-success-but-still-broke-ish. If that isn’t big 2019 energy, I don’t know what is. Leggo.
SO, you graduated. Now what? Sorry sweet cheeks, but more often than not, career opportunities and beautiful broken men aren’t going to fall into your lap. This isn’t a Hallmark holiday movie. Get out there and chase them (not the men, don’t chase those). SHAKE ALL THE HANDS. Search for networking events in your area, research professional organizations you can join, and load up your LinkedIn list (hey, add me, let’s connect). In the most competitive job market EVERRR, it truly is all about who you know.
Hello, young adult. You are scum. When you’re on the job hunt, remember that most people don’t usually take their freshly printed Bachelor’s degree to the very top right away. YES, SHOOT HIGH! BUT, you need experience, so don’t be too picky as you look for a position. Any job is a foot in the door, so take it. Chances are, once you land that first job, you’re at the bottom of the food chain. Accept it and nail it. You aren’t entitled to anything besides a paycheck and some benefits, so don’t get cocky. Do your best no matter what the job is, say YES to every task you can get your hands on, show loyalty, and work hard to deliver great work. You WILL be recognized for it eventually. Take your time and grind, then celebrate with champagne when you get that promotion. Wine too…wine works.
You will fail more times than you succeed.
This will SUCK to get over if you’re anything like me and thrive off of validation. Messed up and someone is upset? Your part of the project wasn’t up to par? I DIE, but this is an inevitable part of the learning process. You won’t be perfect at your job. You WILL make mistakes, some bigger than others. Humble yourself, get over it, learn, and do better next time.
Ask for feedback often.
Want to know how to be a great employee? ASK. Seriously, reach out to your colleagues and find out how you can help. Everyone appreciates someone who is open and eager to get involved. Discover how you can offer your skills on an upcoming project. Ask about what went well and what you can improve on for future projects. By asking for feedback, not only will you avoid any not-so-great surprises, but you will strengthen professional relationships with the people you work with. WIN.
This isn’t the last job you’ll ever have.
If you find out after a while that you don’t love what you do, it’s okay to try something new! BUT, before you submit your two week notice, ask yourself if there are other opportunities within your current position that can fulfill what you’re looking for. You never know if there are some responsibilities outside of your usual duties that you can tackle that might be a great fit for you. If not, consider your first job a stepping stone. Refer back to those connections you made, refresh your résumé, don’t burn your bridges, and take all the awesome skills you learned and references you earned to the next best thing. You go girl, you professional woman, you.
Now get out there and make something of yourself.