Career Advice to a Recent Grad Student
- Friday January 17th, 2014
Congratulations, your hard work has finally paid off; you have graduated from college. Now it is time to look for a job. Whether you are considering an academic job, since you now have an advanced degree, there are many things that you should be concerned with before entering the work force. It is vital to seek advice to avoid making a mistake with your new career. Ask a few professionals you know, what advice they would give you, as a new grad, or if they could share some of their career lessons.
The following offers advice to graduate students seeking higher education jobs and careers, but it is applicable to many other areas.
Do your homework on job opening and institutions
First, it is important to find university jobs that are relevant to your career aspiration and long term goals. Never settle for the first job posting you randomly come across even if it is something that you truly desire. Universities post jobs all the time. Remember; check the background and references of future employers, just as they do you. A simple internet search can give you a lot of valuable information regarding the institution or shool you intend to apply with. Using keywords such as “lawsuit”, “dismissed”, “arbitration” can help you with your simple Google search regarding that institution. It is also important to make sure that your future boss and employees are people that you can get along with and would enjoy working with all day long. Academic jobs have unique requirements due to the academic culture. Remember, the workplace can be a warzone. This is why it is vital to learn to win without a fight. If you don’t, you may learn it the hard way in your new education job.
Be prepared for change and make change
As a recent grad student, you need to be prepared for the changing workforce and make a lot of change to your own work life. The job field is much different than sitting in a classroom and learning about the textbook procedures. You should understand the vital difference between education versus experience and skill. Although you have education relating to that particular career, you may not have actual training in the field. For some positions, actually getting out in the field and doing the job is the best education you can have. This is one reason that internships are always offered as a part of college curriculum. Being out in the field and experiencing it yourself is much different, as well as very helpful training.
Be humble as you will notice that most people in the workforce are now settled in routines and established habits; they and may be disconnected from the recent technologies and new ideas you learned in the classroom. Experienced workers tend to be selective and focused in their interests. Don’t get frustrated, if they are not willing to jump to your innovative ideas. In fact, one of your main challenges, will be to learn to sell your ideas and sustain your energy and powerful dreams to effect change wherever applicable. The workplace needs new ideas; so your insights are needed as much as you need to build your experience by learning from your senior colleagues.
You will be observed and assessed
When you arrive to the job, keep in mind that you are the new guy. Everyone will be watching you and how you work. It is important to keep your cool and not get nervous on your first few days. First impressions mean a lot, and show your personality to those in charge. Show up and act professional, being prepared for whatever the job has to offer. It is vital to use your imagination as well as your knowledge, especially regarding university jobs where people are constantly challenging traditional norms. When you don’t know or are not sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Do you need education, imagination or practical intelligence?
People often debate which is more important in your career; imagination or knowledge. Einstein believed just the opposite of what you would think. He said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Academic education is an initiation that you have to take ownership of, and bring to fruition through innovative practical ways. Keep this in mind in your new job position; even though you are knowledgeable, you still need to be creative and use your imagination to be successful on the job.
Remember, just because you had a 4.0 GPA in college does not make you a perfect fit for the job. You are now acting in a professional capacity; you are a colleague and no longer a student. The expectations are different. Professional success requires you to get into another frame of mind and think differently than if you are in the classroom setting. You may find what you think is a great career, but be sadly mistaken if you do not deliberate clearly before making a career decision and understand your new professional environment.
We wish you a successful career.
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