If you’re one of the roughly 1.7 million students graduating from college this year, congratulations! You can now look forward to starting a new career, which can be both exciting and daunting.
The good news is that the prospects of employment and wage growth are more promising for young graduates than they have been in recent years; and while college graduates may not have the experience that their older counterparts in the workforce have, what they do have is new energy, ambition and fresh perspective. Employers love this because it can breathe new life into a company.
When you contemplate your career, you realize that it’s more than just a job. It’s what you do, your profession, where you go every day and where you will spend the majority of your time. As you begin your journey towards establishing a career, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
- Have a vision for your future. You may not know exactly what you want, but you should have a good idea. This involves some self-introspection. Set your long-term goal and then break it down into shorter term goals. Think about what you enjoy doing, what motivates and inspires you, what your strengths are, what impact you want to make, and where you ultimately want to end up.
- Be Proactive. Don’t wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Go after what you want. In addition to using the internet to find employment, you need to actively go out and seek job prospects by talking to people, making connections and using those connections to your advantage (see the tip below). Go to job fairs and engage the representatives there. Employers recognize and value initiative because it often sets one person apart from another.
- Network, Network, Network – and don’t stop networking. You hear this all the time because it’s so true. Establishing relationships is key. Cultivate those relationships, both electronically and in person, even after you’ve landed your first job. Reach out to all those you know, including friends and coworkers of your family. Join social media groups like LinkedIn – that’s what they were made for. The wider your network, the greater chance that one of those connections in the network will result in an opportunity for you.
- Always be Professional. Make a good first impression. Keep in mind what you post on social media sites, how you answer the phone, what type of message you have on your voicemail, how you represent yourself in interviews. Treat everyone with respect because you never know what influence that seemingly insignificant person may have on opening a door down the road or you getting the job you’re applying for.
- Establish a good reputation early on. This is woven into several of the considerations above (i.e., making connections, being professional and proactive). You don’t want to burn any bridges because it could come back to haunt you. How you interact with others, your work ethic, attitude, initiative will all be noticed and remembered.
- Experience matters. As a recent college graduate, you probably don’t have much workforce experience, if any. Ideally, though, you’ve had an internship related to the career you are pursuing. Not only does this give you general experience, it also helps you determine whether you’re the right fit for a certain line of work. Particularly if you are seeking employment in the company where you interned, your internship can be a great stepping stone to full-time employment since you are a known quantity to that company. Here at DCS, we hire several interns each year, and in a lot of those cases the interns have gone on to become full time employees. Even if you haven’t had an internship, though, a company like DCS wants to see that a prospective employee has been involved in special projects pertaining to their degree, either through their school or on their own.
- Values Matter. Ultimately, you want to find employment in a company that shares your values and wants to support you as much as you support them. When you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, your job, your career, has to suit your needs in order for you to stay motivated and productive.
All these considerations will all play a role in laying the groundwork for your career and helping to shape it through the years. Choosing where you start your career is important. Ideally you’ll find a place that helps you develop your career beyond your first job. At DCS, for example, we value being a great place for young college graduates to establish a career, particularly those with degrees in Mechanical, Computer, Computer Science, or Electrical Engineering. There are tremendous opportunities for growth.
Moreover, we foster a culture of empowerment in our employees. We believe that the personal achievements of our employees drive job satisfaction and the effectiveness, responsiveness, and innovation that we provide to our customers. This ultimately means we take care of their employees to ensure their success. View our career opportunities and see if DCS is a fit for you!