Graduating will mark a significant turning point for your life and career.
It’s the point that you finally move on from years of studying, and look to mix up your key priorities to make way for a new career.
So what are the key things to remember during this time of transition? Start with the below.
The adventures don’t stop with your first full-time career role.
If you’ve had a great time at university, there’s no need for the fun to stop. Starting a career does not signal the end of great adventures, it merely adjusts the opportunities on offer.
But you need to proactively seek such adventures, and look for employers that can offer more than just a desk job from Monday to Friday. Find employers with international opportunities, as well as those that provide avenues for you to continually grow and develop a wide range of skills. Aim to build professional relationships with a diverse range of colleagues, contacts and clients – the wider the range of individuals you bring into your network, the more interesting and fulfilling your career will be. Plan holidays and weekend activities that ensure you’re staying active and continually experiencing new things.
Start collecting mentors and sponsors.
Great careers need an excellent group of advisors. So you need to start building a great network – both online and off – while also seeking out specific individuals who can share their wisdom, knowledge and contacts with you.
Find trusted mentors who can offer guidance on your work and the career choices you make. From there, find sponsors who can directly advocate for you to get a particular promotion, new opportunities or new clients.
You probably won’t get the job you want; it’s not the end of the world.
Competition for the graduate positions being offered by the best companies is fierce. Such companies usually receive thousands of applications for every handful of offers they make, meaning most people end up disappointed.
But landing one particular graduate position will not make or break your career. Indeed, there will be opportunities to enter great companies in different positions later on. Aim to get good, transferable experience in whatever job you find, and to keep learning and talking with mentors and sponsors regarding your career goals.
See the value in diverse relationships
It may be tempting, especially when starting a new job or career, to seek out like-minded individuals who’re similar to you. This may feel safe, but it’s also a trap that’ll be detrimental to your career in the long run.
Make diversity a key career value – that is to actively seek out a range of professional relationships who are from all walks of life. A diverse network will open more doors for your career, will see you develop a wider range of skills and experiences, and will ultimately make your life more interesting.
Manage your wellbeing.
Graduating is the time to consider how you’ll manage your wellbeing – before it’s too late. Now’s the time to set the boundaries regarding what you will and will not sacrifice when it comes to your lifestyle outside of work.
Start making exercise a regular part of your working week (if it’s not already) and make a commitment to hold on to hobbies or other activities that give you some ‘me time’ away from work. Commit yourself to good sleeping and eating habits, and aim to have a ‘sustainable career’ rather than to simply work yourself to the point of burnout.