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Career Tips for New Graduates: From the Eye of a Management Professional

professional development rami kaibni Nov 06, 2020
Career advice for Project Managers in a PMO

New graduates are often concerned and become overwhelmed as soon as they graduate when facing the real world. Mentoring several candidates over the years, I’ve heard various concerns and worries that new graduates have and can summarize below some of the common ones:

Defining a Career Path

- How can I define my career goals?

- What if I discover later that this is not what I want to do?

Establishing a Professional Resume

- I don’t have any experience yet so how can I establish a resume?

- Should my resume be very detailed and ATS compliant?

- Is having a LinkedIn profile an asset?

Applying for Jobs

- How can I apply for jobs?

- I heard that applying online through jobs platforms isn’t effective.

Going for Interviews

- I’ve never been through a job interview before. How shall I prepare?

- How are interviews structured?

Starting a New Job

- What if I don’t feel comfortable with the organization?

- What if I don’t like the job?

In this article, I will be providing below a few general tips that will hopefully help new graduates have a better level of comfort while venturing into the world of practice. Many of those tips apply for professionals who are considering a career change as well.

Transitioning from theory (Education) to reality (Practice) is part of most humans beings life cycle and with every transition, there is always a learning curve where you have to inspect and adapt until you reach to a plateau that is satisfactory to you and in line with your goals.

1) Be Confident: Confidence is very important. It will boost your morale. As a new graduate, employers will concentrate on your soft skills like emotional intelligence, active listening, self-confidence, and communication.

2) Be Patient: Remember, for long-term success, you have to climb the ladder one step at a time to build a solid foundation and this requires patience.

3) Believe in Yourself: I believe in the saying “If I can do it, you can do it”. There is no reason for you not to be able to do things. There is a hero inside everyone of us.

4) Learn as Much as you Can: Life is a long lesson and we learn everyday but specifically as a new graduate, this is your time to learn and practice. Education provides you with theoretical / knowledge background while practice builds your experience and then you will start connecting the dots between what you learned in theory and what you actually do in practice. Employers do want you to learn at least for the first few months without expectations other than you showing commitment and seriousness.

5) Establish a Career Plan: It is important to put a career plan for yourself which includes your long-term goals that you wish to achieve on the long run. Having a job doesn’t mean you have a career so make sure the job you have is inline and contributes towards your career path and growth. That being said, if at some point you feel the need to do a career change that is totally fine and never impossible. Check my latest blog Never Hesitate to Pursue a Career Change for more tips on the subject of Career Change. We all inspect and adapt over the years.

6) Ask when you Don’t Know: People will appreciate it when you inquire about things that you don’t know because this means you are attentive and keen on learning so never feel shy to ask. Put your ego aside.

7) Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes: We all make mistakes and that’s how we learn. In fact, we learn most when we do those mistakes ourselves. You’re mistake today will be a lesson learned for tomorrow.

8) Consult with a Coach or Mentor: Seeking advice from experienced professionals is a very wise idea because those are people who’ve been there, done that. Sometimes a small advice can make a huge difference.

9) Reflect on yourself Frequently: It is important to evaluate your progress towards your career plan frequently. As a new graduate, it is recommended that you do so on quarterly basis.

10) Inspect and Adapt: This will be a learning curve so you will need to keep regularly inspecting and adapting (Be Agile) until the learning curve plateaus and normalizes. Inspection and adaption doesn’t stop there as you need to continuously keep doing so but it is most critical at the early stages of your career.

11) Be Honest and Transparent: Honesty and transparency are two of the most important values you have to keep in mind, not only on a personal level but on a professional level and the person you need to be the most honest with is yourself.

12) Have Sense of Ownership: Commitment and loyalty are very important values and when you establish a sense of ownership for what you do, you will do it best. Remember, excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude.

13) Go Above and Beyond: Be willing to go above and beyond. The world is rapidly evolving and the job market is very competitive, so you need to always ensure you go above and beyond to standout of the competition.

In one of my latest blog How to excel in your career ? I provide various tips on how you can excel in your career.

Your growth is your responsibility so believe in yourself, recognize the hero in you and start building your Wall of FAME.