College graduation can be a crazy and potentially stressful time in anyone’s life as they try to figure out post-school steps. The pressure can be even more exasperated if you’ve gotten to the point of graduation, and either a) you’re having trouble identifying an opportunity within your field, or b) after 4 years (or more) spent studying something, you’ve decided to move in a different direction.
Navigating the current job market can be rough, so regardless of the reason, here are some tips for changing your career after graduation.
- Keep your mind open to new opportunities. You’re making a big decision to look outside of what you know, and this can be very intimidating. Things within a different field could be drastically different from what you’re used to, and it’ll be helpful to not get caught up on the little things. To start your search, consider the location you want to be in, the salary range you’re looking for, and whether you’d like a remote, hybrid, or fully on-site position.
- Research different types of certifications that might be needed to make this change. A lot about you probably changed in the four years you were in school, and you might have different interests now than before. Looking into getting certifications and learning as much as you can about other careers will help make your transition into something new a little easier.
- Identify your transferable skills. Take an honest assessment of what you’ve done throughout school, extra circulars, internships, etc., and how those skills and experiences can transfer into a different career. This could be collaboration skills gained through group projects or time management learned through juggling a college schedule and a work schedule. Knowing your strengths and skills will be key to setting yourself apart from the competition when looking at new opportunities.
- Lean on your LinkedIn network and reach out to staffing agencies and recruiters. Looking for a job, much less trying to break into a new field, can be extremely difficult and time-consuming on its own. Filling out multiple applications is never fun, and waiting to hear back is stressful. Reaching out to professionals and working directly with recruiters who know what the market is like and who can connect the dots between where you are and where you want to go, will not only be a great resource but also help you to utilize your time better.
- Don’t settle for the short term. What I mean by this is the following: do your research and make sure that wherever you are interviewing, and whatever field you’re looking into aligns with your beliefs/ideals and preferred work-life balance. You want to put yourself in a good position for your future, so don’t rush the process of making this change. Talk to different people in different industries, learn about company cultures, and think very hard about what’s most important to you.
If you’re worried that you’re the only person making this career pivot, don’t be. According to an article from Business Talent Solutions, “32% of grads haven’t worked in a career directly related to their major”. Perhaps your expectations for your future are different, or you’re just ready for something new, either way, you’re not alone in this search. By taking advantage of these tips and reaching out to your network, hopefully, you’ll gain the confidence to follow through and make this change.
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