You thought you’d never get to this day. It’s graduation and you can’t believe you’ll be wrapping up four years of academic bliss, self-discovery and experience building. What’s next? What can you expect in “the real world?” Where will you live or work? Once you send out those application and the interviews start coming in, there are a few things you should know before making a decision. Here are 5 things you should know about your first job out of college: 1. It may not be exactly what you went to school for.
There are many ways to find your first job, but often many college graduates find themselves in positions that may not be their dream job. For me, that looked like taking an administrative position as my first full-time position and developing my organizational and management skills. If this happens to be you, don’t get discouraged. Every opportunity is just a stepping stone to the next.
2. You may have to take a low-paying job to get you foot in the door.
Many times, college graduates leave school with high GPAs, high hopes and little-to-no experience. This may result in having to take a lower-paying position in order to get past the “...years of experience,” requirement. Just make sure that the position has room for growth and promotion before agreeing or have a strategy for how long you plan to keep the job until you find something that will meet your needs.
3. It may start as a paid internship.
My first job out of college was a well-paid internship. It gave me the room to learn and figure out if what I went to school for and what I was doing on a daily basis were really what I envisioned for my career. Full-time internships also have the ability to turn into long term work or a full-time position. Make sure you work hard and let your manager know that if the opportunity arises, you’d be the first to apply.
4. It may start as a fellowship.
Fellowships are more in-depth internships with a lot more autonomy. They are often setup so that the fellow will be considered for work at the end or be expected to produce a project that will aid in the evaluation of their performance and future placement in the company. The great thing about many fellowships is that some offer full-time salaries, benefits, substantial work experience, mentorship and a longer term that most internships. They are often also geared towards recent graduates.
5. It may convince you that your dream job is actually not what you originally thought.
I have learned so much about my self as a professional through working in a different field than my major. By taking on various projects, getting to know my co-workers and getting knee-deep in business and education, I have learned that I have interests and skill sets that include both my college interests (communications and nonprofit management) and my new found interest in business. Sometimes the best thing to do is to branch out from the norm and try your hand at some other industries or job types and see if your interests broaden or change.
Remember: Your first job may not be your dream job. It’s just a stepping stone to the career you’ve always wanted!
Have you had any similar experiences? Do you have any tips or advice to share? Comment below
About the Author
Chiereme Fortune is the multi passionate writer, blogger, do-gooder and your marketing/pr go-to. She writes about all things #womanhood and personal branding on her blog, becomingthewoman.com. Find her on Twitter, Linkedin or IG.