I Graduated, Now What? A question many of us often have…

After being asked to speak to a group of young graduates, I started thinking about my own career journey and what lessons I had learned (and continue to learn) from the many obstacles and opportunities that came along the way. I decided to start a blog about my different experiences which might hopefully answer questions some students and graduates have, and hopefully inspire a few people to take on the challenge of life after graduation. My first blog was mainly about CV and Cover Letter writing, which I believe is the most important introduction to your employer. The blog can be accessed here. I remember when I was studying (and when I graduated), I looked back and wished I had someone to bounce ideas off of, and help me make the most of my university career. When I graduated, the first question I had was where to next? I had a double major in Political Science and Gender studies and was ready to CONQUER THE WORLD!! But… finding a job that will allow me to do this wasn’t that easy… in fact… it was nearly impossible (so i thought). So after months of no luck searching for a job in the NGO  sector, I decided to peruse the only option I had left- taking an opportunity that didn’t seem like the “right” opportunity and turning it into gold. This job was not at all related to what I studied- but I needed a job and I was determined to be successful. Looking back I realise now that searching for jobs within a specific sector was limiting me and holding me back from discovering my fullest potential. Therefore, I decided to send my CV to a friend of a friend who was working in tourism, and after a few interviews, there I was, working in Customer Services; little did i know this was the opportunity that would change my life for good and set me on a whole new course in my career- one which I am still loving and growing in. What lessons have I learned from this experience? 1. Network, Network, Network– Building a good network is essential in your career journey and the reasons are endless. People in your network not only inspire you but tell you about companies you never knew existed, highlight potential opportunities that might be of interest to you or they could give you tips about landing a job in a particular industry. I used social gathering opportunities to ask friends and acquaintances where they worked and if they were hiring and it worked! Ask and it shall be given right? 2. Be humble– Let’s face it, humility isn’t a skill taught in most schools. In fact, we are taught to always promote ourselves and shine light on everything we have done well. However, I have found that remaining humble has been both instrumental and transformational in my career journey. Remaining humble is the only way you can take opportunities outside of what you studied and be open to learn new skills which might come in handy one day. Despite having Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees under my belt, I knew that I still had a lot to learn. So, I took that Customer Service job, I was willing to work hard and learn as much as I could, which ultimately led to my promotion in just 3 months! I explain this further in the next point. From this experience I learned to keep an open mind– Sometimes opportunities aren’t that glamorous, or some jobs aren’t along the lines of what you studied, but with hard work, this might just be a foot in the door on your way to your dream job. 3. Turn every opportunity into gold– when I was working in Customer Services, I took an interest in small tasks that no one seemed to have time for, such as helping customers track lost payments – this resulted in more bookings being completed fast. Little did I know that my Manager and the HR Manager were taking note of this and were about to reward my dedication. I won an award for employee of the year, and got offered an opportunity to join the HR Team. 4. Put your hand up! If there is a chance to move into another department or take on extra tasks- OR if you see something that can be improved or done better-PUT YOUR HAND UP. When I agreed to join the HR Team on the 4 month trial, I read as much as I could and learned as much as I could. After the 4 months was over, they offered me a permanent role in the HR Team. A career path I am still thoroughly enjoying! 5. Do not lose hope– It may feel daunting to start the journey for your first full-time job, but stay hopeful and determined. It took me three months to find my first full time job after graduation, but after I expanded my search and applied these techniques my life took a turn for the better, one I am still enjoying! Keep hunting, keep researching and stay ready by practising interview techniques and presenting a great CV. All the best and keep moving forward Best, SPM

#Graduateemployment #internship #networking #volunteer

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