In the middle of December after participating in a two year marketing business program at Seneca College, I finished school and was ready for my first full-time job!
During the weeks leading up to my final exam, I kept asking myself various questions. It was time to process the changes that were ahead for me, even though I had a very vague idea of what those might be. I was wrestling with ideas like: When will I get a job? Who was going to want to hire me? Is my schooling enough? Should I have gone to University instead of College?
It was a pretty scary time for me, especially when I have seen so many of my peers do it, some with great ease and others with much more difficulty. I was not sure where exactly I should begin, so I made a small checklist. I felt writing down my short term goals helped me to stay more focused on the summation of my plan. From my ideas, I came up with 5 tips for a recent graduate who is ready to enter the workforce, regardless of the profession the individual has chosen. These tips helped to prepare me for the next stage of life and kept me fairly calm about the uncertain future on my horizon.
Tip #1: Take a break!!
After I completed my final exam in December, by the time I was done most of the working population had shut down for their holiday vacation. Every networking opportunity or interview was pushed to about the middle of January because that was the earliest available time to meet once everyone was back up to speed. I just wanted to start! After about a week of cold calling and reading about different companies, I decided to stop looking as frantically as I was and felt I needed a vacation. So for the next week and a half I reduced the time I spent on my computer and phone and took some “me time” by having a stay-cation. This was a fantastic idea! Not only did it calm my anxiety about finding a job right away, however it also gave me peace of mind about the next steps in my life and that everyone goes through this period, no matter where you end up.
Tip #2: Study yourself
There are some people who know exactly what they want to do in terms of a profession or job on their first day of post-secondary school, others know on the first day of high school, and others may go to school for years and finish and still have no idea what they want to do with their life!!
The reason I say study yourself is because how can one figure out what they want to spend the rest of their working life doing if they do not know what they are passionate about or what their values are? If one cannot answer these questions, then how can one expect to find a job and enjoy it in a year? 5 years? 10 years?
Some people switch jobs often, which has become normal in the fast paced world we live in, but many do not. We all need to show one’s self in a positive light and display our strengths, though also have the ability to understand the areas that one can work on.
Tip #3: Update your Resume/Linkedin
This step is very important because these are the two first impressions any future employer will have of you, in some cases before you even speak a word to them. By correcting these documents and adding new, useful information to them, it will help to show one in the best possible light. By keeping these settings relevant it will go a long way in appropriately representing one’s skills.
I would suggest researching what resumes from a particular field of interest look like and how to construct a proper one. A well designed Linkedin profile can be more important than a resume in some instances, however the amount of people and businesses on Linkedin grows every single day and will probably be held higher than a resume one day. There are services available (some free and others not) that offer resume and Linkedin support and I can tell you first hand that any help will go a long way. Having an unbiased and trained set of eyes review one’s wording and design will only do good things for you. Also ask friends and family who you feel comfortable asking because they are the ones who have a good idea of who you are!
Tip #4: Become okay with the idea of working for free
The title of the tip is fairly self-explanatory. I am in no way saying that you HAVE to work for free before working for monetary compensation, though be prepared to be offered an unpaid internship or some volunteer freelancing if you go in for an interview. Every employer wants an employee with experience but how could I have experience in the field if I’ve been in school for the past however many years? Many job listings put a certain amount of years’ experience required to be eligible for the job, though most of the time that it is not a set requirement but just the most ideal amount of experience they would like to see, but in many cases it is unrealistic. I do not look at it as working for free because you are being paid in experience, the very thing that will get you a paid job!
Tip #5: Ask people to go for coffee
Look for people in the field you would like to work with on Linkedin or ask friends and family if they know of any particular person, and get in contact with them. Ask them if they have some
Time to speak about what they do, how they got to where they are today, and how their plans and goals have changed over the years and in return you can offer to buy them a coffee. People LOVE talking about themselves and their accomplishments and you should 100% utilize that. Do not be hesitant in fear that they will say no, because guess what? People will definitely say no but many will say yes.
Be persistent and show you care, because everyone has been in the spot you are in and they remember what it was like and how hard it is.
Of course this system is not foolproof and will not help everyone, but even if one of the points resonates with you and helps you on your journey in the working world, then you are already on your way to achieving your next goal. Keep your head up and your eyes open! There are opportunities everywhere!
Zach Marmurek is a recent graduate from Seneca College with a diploma in Business Marketing. He is currently interning at the Canadian Association of Marketing Professional’s. Zach spends his free time going to as many concerts and sports events as he can!