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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Graduated in 2020 – mission impossible? These 4 tips will make the difference

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

It’s not over, you’re just getting started

Your graduation experience was different than anyone could have imagined and without the thunderous applause in a stadium. The rest of us may never understand what that feels like. I will not take that loss away from you. Nothing can replace that.

While the pomp and circumstance is subdued, you are still a graduate and there is much to celebrate.

Globally, you are among a small percentage of people who hold a college degree. You might be the first or second generation in your family to have graduated from a university. This is an immense accomplishment and tremendous source of pride.

You leave campus with critical thinking ability, resourcefulness and, hopefully, more compassion for the world.

Sure, this is a plot twist; at the same time, your story is just getting good.

It’s time to rise up.

1. Think of yourself as hired.

I want you to approach your job search as an athlete. Visualize the success you desire, work hard and go after it. See the finish line and prepare to win.

Think of yourself as hired. You have a job, and it is to identify how you would like to enter the workforce for your first professional role. You are ready.

Absolutely, honor your feelings of this momentous life transition while you also take the necessary action steps to find your first work home.

Game day victory is the result of hard work that happens away from the arena. It is the same with job searching. Preparation and skill-building take place well before the interview. Do the things that matter, to perform at your best. Not just in your job search. Give 100% to your life.

2. Be confident, humble and open to learning.

I invite you to the practice field where ideas are brainstormed, wishes are imagined and goals are realized.

I challenge you to create new post-graduate rituals of flexibility, agility and determination. There is freedom in being adaptable, knowing that you can thrive in any scenario. What will bring you joy during this time and, even better, how can you be helpful?

You have extraordinary gifts that are unique to you. Take time to reflect on your personal values, interests and the things you want to learn. Keep exploring until you find the intersection that feels right to you, where passion meets paying rent. Also, know that your first job will not be your last and there are many paths to success.

Remain humble during your search and cultivate a professional network filled with positive people who lift while they climb. Return the kindness and pay it forward as you grow in your career.

Be open to learning. Job searching is a compilation of skills not often taught in school and it’s okay if you don’t know something. Everyone is a beginner first. Be coachable. Ask questions and learn from the best, for your job search, and in life - just like you did in your college journey.

3. Focus on consistency and resiliency.

You made it through senior semester/quarter during a global pandemic with perseverance, tenacity and grit. These qualities will continue to serve you in any role you undertake.

Exercise these traits, daily, during your job search; persistence is a muscle to keep strong. Adopt an unstoppable mindset. When you encounter delays, disappointment or frustration, treat them as resiliency drills – and, keep going.

Keep coming back from a position of strength. You have tech savviness, fortitude and curiosity to propel you through this unchartered time. The value you place on community and connection make you natural networkers. Channel all of these assets into your job search.

Consistency is key. Like any big task, a job search is easier when it’s broken down into smaller steps. Set a weekly job search goal and chip away at it each day. Create a framework that is balanced with job search activities, friends/family and fun stuff.

Remember, you’re building a new routine and developing job search stamina. A new athlete would not run a marathon in the first week of training. Practice good habits and job search success will follow.

4. Put your health and wellbeing first.

I give you permission to restore.

You are coming off of four years of intense academic work, extracurricular involvement, part-time jobs and relationships (plus quarantine). I support taking care of your mind, body and soul.

There is great power in being well-rested and at the top of your game, with nourishing food, regular body movement and quality sleep. These healthy habits will keep you alert, optimistic and able to sustain the length of a job search.

I want you to be full of energy, not running on fumes, when you receive callbacks.

If job searching is your training for a competition/candidate selection, then I want you to pace yourself. Favor quality over quantity and be thoughtful in creating a work vision that feels right to you. I’d rather see you applying to fewer closely matching job openings, connecting with a handful of outstanding mentors, and gathering information to road test potential career ideas – than sending out hundreds of generic resumes to job openings you may or may not want, nor be qualified. I want you to enjoy targeted wins throughout your job search.

Because, when goals, hard work and self-care meet, incredible things happen.

You have the tools

Within you are the tools that will make our world a better place. Your work ethic, raw potential and the tenacity you possess are like gold.

This is your time to shine bright, be brave and create the future you want. It may take time, and certain things are out of our control right now, but stay the course. Good things are coming and things will get better; do your part, by staying in the game.

One more thing. As you job search, pause every now and then to thank and honor your family and the influential people who supported your educational journey up to this point.

We all stand on the shoulders of others.

You may not have heard your name called out on a graduation stage, in front of hundreds or thousands of people.

But, you can still live this summer, autumn and the coming year working towards your first professional job so that the next time you hear your name called, such as when an employer offers you a position – and when they introduce you to your new colleagues – you can be proud, not only for what’s on your resume, but because of who you are inside, how you treat others and the hard work you dedicated to reach this new job moment.

This is your time to become your best self. Do you. Be kind. Start now.

Welcome to the working world.

© 2020 WORK DOT DOT. All rights reserved.


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