Congratulations on finally graduating!
The transition from life as a college student into life as a full-time working adult can be tricky to maneuver – be prepared to learn more now than you ever did in college.
Landing your first job and kickstarting your career is the next step – how do you do it? How does it all work, where do you start, and once you do, how do you cope?
Here are a few things to know beforehand:
1. Know Your Rights
Stepping into the workforce for the first time, you might be a little bewildered which is totally normal.
You don’t need to be too anxious about all the legal aspects of work – most of it will be handled by your future employers.
However, a good idea, especially for your first job, is to start a conversation with employment lawyers who can look over your contract of employment before you sign anything and let you know what your rights are in the workplace.
2. Optimise Your CV
Applying for work with nothing but bartending on your CV can be tough. Employers are always looking for experience, but you’re not completely out of luck.
Use keywords from job listings to optimize your CV for each job you apply for, and let your existing skills and qualifications really stand out.
If you’re struggling to get hired, start out by looking for some internships or even volunteer assistance work to chalk up some experience to put on your CV.
3. Start From the Bottom
Keep in mind that you’re highly unlikely to strike a high-up position as a new graduate. We all have to start at the bottom of the barrel, and that’s the best place to start.
Beginning your career with internships or lower down, basic positions is a great way to learn as you go and really build up your skills, knowledge, and expertise over time.
Don’t be afraid to take on admin work, or even work as a PA or receptionist for someone in the field you’re edging into.
This is a great way to introduce yourself to the industry and make a few helpful connections.
4. Don’t Accept Just Anything
While you might feel desperate for a job, don’t forget to apply a hint of skepticism when you’re offered a job.
While accepting lower pay for smaller positions or internships is okay for a while, don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of simply because you’re young and inexperienced.
You, your work, and your qualifications hold value and are deserving of fair pay – you’ll know what’s an acceptable amount and what isn’t.
5. Be Okay With Making Mistakes
Once you land an internship, a job, or some form of work, be sure to cut yourself some slack. You’ll be learning a whole lot and it’s almost certain that you’ll be making mistakes.
Your employer and colleagues will be expecting this and are probably only too happy to help you learn and answer any questions you’ll have.
Of course, do your best, but don’t expect miracles of yourself and give yourself time to adjust.