6 Career Tips for College Graduates
So, it's your first day, week, or month out of college. You're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed but also wondering how the real world is going to treat you. All I can tell you is to enjoy the ride because it only gets crazier from here.
My first year out of college in the "real" world has been quite the eye-opener.
The first week back home, I was working as a merchandiser at Belk. The job treated me well but it definitely wasn't where I wanted to be. Three long months later, I was working as a medical transcriptionist in family medicine.
When starting my new position, I definitely felt that I was under-qualified. But as I learned the office culture, I was able to feel more comfortable in new territory. My job became more manageable the more I learned.
So today, I'm giving some advice to help you in your new role.
If you've recently graduated, been hired, or your changing careers, this post if for you.
As you embark on this new journey, know that you are entering a new role. You'll be responsible for learning how to perform up to par in this new environment.
You will absolutely experience some form of a learning curve. This is normal. Even if you had an internship every summer in college, there will be concepts and processes that you don't know.
Take this as an opportunity to learn as much as you can.
More people are willing to help and teach what they know if they see that you are open and willing to take direction.
Being coachable will often lead to opportunities that others may not have access to due to attitude or inability to take direction.
ASK FOR HELP
Never be too proud to ask for help. In fact, many of your peers and employers want you to ask questions.
Not knowing how to read an EKG properly or order the correct lab test doesn't make you incompetent. At some point, everyone was in your shoes.
Your partners, managers, or peers will more than likely be willing to answer your questions and glad that you asked them.
Remember, the work you're doing now has a real impact on the company. Better to ask, than assuming you are doing it right.
Each job is unique and so is the workload. If you are finding it difficult to keep up with the pace and workload of your new position, ask for help.
Balancing all of your responsibilities appropriately will take some time. Ask your manager to help you prioritize tasks and time.
FIND A HELPFUL MENTOR
We've all been there right.
You may have asked someone to be your mentor and they gave you some generic cliche advice like "work really hard," and "never give up." Instead of pointing you in the right direction they leave you high and dry.
Well, no more.
A truly helpful mentor will give you helpful AND ACTIONABLE STEPS, resources, connections, and honesty.
But, how do I find a helpful mentor?
They can be found at your job, in facebook groups, and other social media channels. You just have to be willing to look.
Being transparent about your situation will also help. If you never tell anybody you're looking for a mentor or guidance you won't get it.
When I was trying to figure out how I was going to combine a full-time job and school, I asked a student who was shadowing at my job if she knew anybody who could help. Turns out she had been in my exact shoes.
Not only did she tell me where to go and who to talk to, but she also let me know that my goal was possible. It was just going to take some extra work.
SAY YES TO EVERYTHING
The best opportunities are the ones you don't expect.
Life is definitely unpredictable and the best you can do is have a plan. If you are asked to do something outside of the scope of your job. Say yes.
It's an opportunity to learn a new skill that may prove useful later down the line.
When I started working in the clinic, I was assigned to one doctor. One week she was out of the office and asked if I wanted to work with another provider for that day. I contemplated saying "no," because I hadn't worked with another doctor before. But ended up saying "yes," later on.
Not only did I learn a different way of transcribing notes, but I also learned that each provider serves a different population. Even if they work in the same practice.
Had I decided to say no, I would've missed out on a valuable learning experience.
Know that you add value to the company or you wouldn't have been hired.
You bring new ideas and perspectives.
Although you're learning a new role remember you are coming to your team with a repertoire of skills and experiences.
Find what you're good at and figure out how it will help you add value to your team.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO REDIRECT
If four months down the road you decide this particular job isn't for you. It's okay.
It's scary when something that you've wanted for so long doesn't work out. That's why it's important to say yes to everything.
Knowing when to bow out is a sign of maturity. Whatever you're doing isn't working and that's okay. The best thing to do is to continue to work at your job while looking for another position.
Just make sure you aren't burning bridges when you leave.
What advice would you give recent graduates?
Thanks for reading,