Graduate SOS

When clients touch base these days it’s sometimes about the launch of their daughter or son’s career, rather than the priorities of their own.   It seems the torch is being passed from the obstacles of the workplace to the obstacle of getting started in the workplace.

New graduates are certainly frustrated with hiring roadblocks resulting from pressures such as –

  • Reduced numbers of entry level jobs overall
  • Hard core screening processes
  • Unrelated, part-time service jobs predominating applicant resumes
  • Requirements for industry specific experience
  • Higher workload distribution so fewer new hires needed
  • Lack of orientation and training to succeed in new jobs
  • Increased expectations of new hires to hit the ground running
  • Boomers staying in jobs or phasing in work/retirement options – (had to include this)
  • Let’s stop here, the list gets too long – (and I appreciate that it applies to non-graduates as well.)

Essentially grads lack that crucial 2 to 3 years of experience need to start climbing the career ladder. Yes, volunteer and summer work over several years adds up, but the fundamental business track record is missing.  It’s the old frustrated question of “How do I get experience, unless I’ve got experience?”

The answer is you start where you can with what you’ve got.  Pay your dues – even out of your chosen field – and gather your transferable skills so you have something of value to package up and market to your next employer.  Don’t wait for the perfect job.  Your first one may be for an unknown company with less than glamorous working conditions and more hours and less pay than you could imagine.  (On the other hand, the hours could be short, say a 3 month contract at 24 hours a week?) Hard to believe this is what you went to school for.

Humble beginnings are the roots of careers.  While it can take ruthless determination and escalated connections just to land one, they start out small.

Then you dig in your heels and start learning all over again.  New personalities, policies and politics.  Clients, products, systems and services.  Be smart.  Pitch in.  Stay organized.  Win supporters.  Deliver results.  Keep your promises.  Ask questions.  Grow relationships.  Build teamwork.  Stay positive. Show initiative.  Work hard.

Once you’ve got that first job experience and your references are strong, start looking for work that is more aligned with what you really want to do, and make a move that brings you closer to that.  Consider your first job as a launch point and you’ll be amazed at where it can take you.

More on what you can do to help your grad land work in upcoming blogs.