3 Tips for Starting Your Career After College

Whether you landed a job months before graduation or you’re still looking, the transition from college to the “real world” is daunting. Stepping foot into your first full-time position out of school can be scary, but knowing the ins and outs of job searching will benefit you tremendously. Here are some tips to get your career started on the right foot.

1. Gain Experience

If you’re still in school but you don’t have a job lined up yet, take the opportunity to gain more experience in your field. Even if you already have a job, gaining more experience will only benefit you and your résumé. Internships, volunteering and certifications are all ways to show employers that you’re motivated and willing to learn new things.

Internships

Hopefully you’ve completed at least one internship while in school, but if not, there are internships geared toward recent graduates that you could apply for. Many of these post-graduate internships lead to full-time jobs after completion as well.

Volunteer

If committing to an internship isn’t ideal for your situation, reach out to small companies or organizations and ask if you can volunteer your time. For instance, if you want to work in marketing or public relations, reach out to small, local non-profits or companies and ask if they need any help with their marketing materials. Volunteering and internships are excellent ways to gain experience and a few new professional references.

Certifications

Certifications and online courses are an excellent way to learn a new skill and show employers you can teach yourself new things.  A lot of students don’t realize how many certifications are available online. If you’re looking to become front-end developer you could take a course on Codeacademy, or if you want to work in social media you could take the Hootsuite or Google Analytics certification. There are tons of options out there to continue learning after school and help your résumé stand out.

2. Learn About the Hiring Process

Before applying to jobs, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of the general hiring process. Learn about the company, write down questions and decide what salary range you need to be in.

Prepare for the interview

Before an interview, make sure you know the values of the company you’re applying to and mention them throughout your interview. Have questions written down in your portfolio beforehand and write down any that may pop up during the interview. The process shouldn’t just be the company interviewing you, you want to interview them a little bit too. This ensures that you’ll be happy with your work place and shows them that you’re interested in learning more.

Salary

Decide prior to the interview what salary range you’re looking for. Start by doing a little research to find out what someone with your experience, industry and location makes on average. Next, figure out what you need for basic living, what you want to make, and what your ideal salary would be. When asked, tell them you’re looking for a salary between your “want to make” and “ideal” numbers. Also, be sure to stay friendly but firm if the need to negotiate comes up. Tell the interviewer that you would love if they could talk over your offer with management if possible and get back to you. Usually they’ll come back with a number somewhere in between.

3. Prepare for the Transition

Transitioning from classes a few hours a day and seeing your friends daily to starting your career away from people you’ve seen every day for years can be a lot to get used to. Preparing for the transition and coming to terms with it will benefit your well-being and help start your career on the right foot.

Many recent graduates who move to a new area with no one they know quickly feel disconnected and lonely in their new environment. Aside from staying in contact with your friends from school, making an effort to get involved in local organizations or even going to happy hour with coworkers can help replenish your social life. Many cities have young professional organizations that have sports leagues and volunteer opportunities for you to get involved.

Beginning a full-time job out of college can be difficult to adjust to, but making sure you create a routine early on will help you adapt. Take the time to figure out how to balance work, your social life, your finances, and your well-being.

Starting your career is a big step, but if you take the time to prepare the transition will be much smoother. If you’re still looking for positions, create a profile to get started and make the Shyft.

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