You’ve strolled across the stage to grab your degree and maybe did a little “praise” dance on your way back to your seat.
Yet, no sooner than you have the chance to catch your breath, someone has the nerve to ask the inevitable, dreaded question: “So, now that you’ve graduated, what are you going to do with your life?” Well, here’s the thing—you don’t have to have it all figured out to be successful. Admit that you’re clueless, so that you can get the support you need to power forward.
Quite frankly, many professionals in their 30s and 40s are still trying to figure out this thing called life. Because the reality is, your first job out of college won’t be your last job. Your goals will change and that’s OK. And your best education will come from experience—which takes time.
Here are five pieces of game-changing advice for college grads.
- Don’t wait for opportunities, create them – Nowadays, companies are using social media to recruit top talent. So, take ownership over your career by creating your dream job. Looking to launch a career as a talk show host? Create your own YouTube, podcast, or website that shares your passion and point of view on industry-related topics. Frustrated with an issue in society? Leverage your social networks to turn your message into a movement or launch an event within your community.
- Strive for excellence, not perfection – Chasing perfection will keep you stuck in place, so strive for excellence. Regardless of your role, be enthusiastic and confident, and take pride in your work. Do what you say you are going to do. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. And find ways to over-deliver on a project because these types of personality traits can be transferred to any employer.
- Get your mind right – Equally important to getting an education is cultivating a successful mindset. Success rarely comes without struggle, risk, rejection, criticism, and failure—it’s all a part of the journey. Made a mistake? Ask yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this? Apologize, forgive yourself, and move on. Faced with rejection? Sometimes, “no” means “not” right now, or “not” with you—keep pushing. Setbacks can be a setup for your success, so stay positive.
- Commit to exploring, and remember not every opportunity is attached to a dollar – To position yourself for your dream job, you may have to volunteer or relocate to a smaller city or even a foreign country. Sometimes, taking a job for less money and more experience trumps a fancy job title or high paying job. Making these types of boss moves may elevate your career in the long run.
- Build strong professional relationships -The right relationships can take you places that money can’t. So, make networking a regular part of your life. Build mutually beneficial relationships outside of your immediate circle. Learn about people beyond their job description. And add value to their projects by lending a helping hand or connecting them with other people who can help turn their vision into reality.