Dear Upcoming College Grads

Dear Upcoming College Grads,

Don’t panic, graduation is right around the corner and some of you may feel like you must have a job walking across the stage.  For some, this is a goal, but at the end of the day, the goal is to land a job that you’ll enjoy, while learning and growing. The pressure you feel to have a job before graduation is nothing but societal pressure, and let me tell you – don’t give in to it.  You have more than enough time to search for a job, and the truth is, not all companies hire exactly in May. Many companies have openings in August that they will start interviewing for in the summer time, so don’t fret…you have time!

So, all of us millennials just want a chance. We want chances to show a company what we can bring to the table, that we are worth their investment, and that we are not the typical millennial.  Wait! you (the soon to be college grad) are slightly confused. Right? You don’t know where to start and don’t know where you want to work.  Yeah, there are 2-3 places that sound AWESOME, but you aren’t even sure how to go about it.  Trust me, these are all normal feelings.  Here is one piece of advice I give to all of you as you start and continue your job search.  Set your priorities first.  That way you know what you are looking for and you aren’t just applying to any and every job that you think sounds cool.

Set Priorities

Priorities.  This is something we hear from our parents and mentors often, “Get your priorities straight and everything will fall into place.”  What priorities am I setting straight though?  The answer to that question is everything.  Write down your top 4 priorities.  Yes, write them down.  That way you can always come back to them.  Need an example?  When I was looking for jobs, I wrote down these top 4 priorities to ensure I stayed true to myself during the job search.

  • Location

    • I knew I wanted to be in a big city; Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco – you name it. I wanted to move to a big city and wanted to make sure it was out of the south (only because I wanted to explore new places)

  • Company/Brand

    • This was important to me. I wanted to work for a big-name brand and was willing to work in any function.  I looked up the culture of companies, as well because I wanted to make sure my personality fit in the environment I was to be working in.

  • Opportunity for Upward Mobility

    • I wanted to work for a company that valued their employees. A company that saw value in their employees and was willing to promote from within.

  • Salary

    • I knew to live in a city, I was going to have to make a fair amount. Obviously not at the top of my list, but I wanted to make sure I was going to live comfortably.  Remember – this is always negotiable after you receive your offer.

I wrote these priorities down and kept them by my side when searching for jobs.  As I came across a role, I would look at my priorities and if it didn’t at least satisfy my top priority or top 2, then I moved on.  This allowed me to silo my job search and not waste time applying for jobs that I had no real interest in.  Not only did it save me time, but it truly allowed me to keep a peace of mind knowing that every job I was applying for was a job I wanted and would enjoy doing.  Now, some of you may get lucky and meet all your priorities, but realistically speaking you must be willing to sacrifice your bottom two priorities.

This is a good first step when it comes to the start of your career.  If you don’t have priorities, then you’ll be applying for every entry level job within that market, but by having priorities, it allows you to silo the jobs and really focus on your job application and resume to tailor it to that certain role/company.

Next blog post we will talk about networking on LinkedIn and growing a meaningful network!  Watch out for the first #WinningWednesday feature, too!