How to Make Your Career Plan after Graduation

hatsThere are two options in terms of work when you’re done with school. You can start a job or launch a career. The difference? It’s quite straight forward. The former is all about making some money now, while the latter is all about where you’ll end up in the future. In other words, it’s about growth prospects. A job in a bar is just that. An entry-level position in a big firm can be so much more.
So what do you want to do? Do you want to bum around for a while uncertain of what you’re going to do or do you want to try to get somewhere in life?

Choose a direction

This is where it starts. You need to choose your industry. Now, do note that your choice isn’t necessarily hammered into stone. When you choose a direction that does not mean you can’t change your mind later. For one thing you never know what opportunities life will throw your way. For another the experience you’ve picked up trying to build your career will almost invariably carry over to other fields. So don’t stress yourself out!
But you know what they say, ‘no wind blows in favor of a ship with no direction.’ And if you’re rudderless and adrift, without a destination in mind, not only will you not know what choices to make, you might not recognize the opportunities that life throws in your path for what they are. So choose a path!

Know your strengths

Self-knowledge is the name of the game. This will help you choose what industry you should choose and it will help you present yourself correctly when you arrive there. So take some time to really think about what makes you special. Ask friends to help you out by listing your strong points and your weak points.
Now remember, you’re not here to have somebody coo about how special you are. That might feel good in the moment, but that won’t help when you’re actually trying to make something of yourself in the world. So ask people to be honest.
Once you have an idea what your strengths are, make sure you know how to utilize them correctly and where they can matter the most. Look them up online and see what tips people have for you. Here is how you can use being introverted. Perhaps your strength is that you’re unassuming and humble? Then find out how to use that. Or maybe it’s your confidence that makes you stand out. It’s all out there. All you need to do is look.

Work on your resume

You know how you always see business people handing out business cards? Well your CV is your business card into the world of your choice. The big difference is that while business people have their company’s reputation to back them up, you’ve only got your history.
And so, you’ve got to make your CV shine. Don’t commit the standard CV mistakes. Read over it a number of times and make certain that there are no grammar and spelling errors. Even better, get somebody else to read over it. After all, when you read something that you wrote the ghost of what you wanted to say often ends up concealing what it actually says on the page. As other people do not have these preconceptions, they will be much more likely to pick up on your mistakes.

Think about an internship

If the industry you’re trying to get into has a lot of applicants, you might want to consider taking an internship. This will get your foot in the door and, as long as you are committed, can often lead to something more permanent in that company. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have something to put on your CV. Even better, it’s in the industry that you want to work in and so will be far more likely to impress whoever else you might approach later on down the line.
Not all internships are unpaid. Obviously it’s far more interesting for you to get a paid position, especially if you don’t have any financial support to carry you through while you’re trying to get started in the industry you’re in.

Play the numbers game

A lot of fresh off the boat graduates make the mistake of only sending their CV off to a few businesses, thinking they’re special enough to land a position. Here’s a hard truth for you: You’re only at the center of your own world. With everybody else, especially human resources who receive hundreds of applications, you’re at the periphery.
What that means is that though you might have agonized over your CV for hundreds of hours that doesn’t mean they’ll give it more than a few seconds. Heck, you might even get unlucky and they’ll flick by your CV without ever truly registering it due to something going on around them. You know, like how you sometimes don’t even register an internet page before you move on because something else grabbed your attention?
That’s why you’ve got to send your CV off to dozens if not hundreds of jobs. It’s called the numbers game and it relies on the idea that even though you might only have a small chance of landing a specific job, if you multiply that by enough applications you’re bound to get lucky.
Even better, if you get invited to several interviews then you’ll be far less nervous in each individual interview, as you know you’ve still got the other ones if this one goes south. And that extra bit of confidence can make a world of difference!

It’s in your hands

The next few months might not be easy. After all, you’re transitioning from a life where people were trying to make you better, to a world where people are mainly focused on trying to use you to make themselves better. You’re transitioning from a life where you were being told what to do, to a life where you’ve got to make all those decision for yourself. It’s possibly one of the biggest transitions you’ll encounter. That can be quite overwhelming.
At the same time, people don’t expect you to know what you’re supposed to be doing, so they’ll generally cut you some slack. What’s more, remember that bit where I told you that you’re not at the center of everybody else’s world? Well that also means that if you screw up people probably won’t notice! There’s this thing in social psychology called the spotlight effect. It means that people pay far less attention to us than we think they do. So feel free to experiment! For unless you were raised with a silver spoon in our mouth nobody is going to bring you your chosen career on a silver platter.
And that’s alright, because if they did, you wouldn’t appreciate it anyway. So go out there and take what you want and make the best of it!

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