University is over. Take a breath, have a five minute break and get your bearings; the world is neither big nor bad, the faster you climb or harder you work, you’ll realise a very crushing fact – reputation draws attention and attention lends your name currency. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves! You’ve recently tossed your gleaming, tasseled mortarboard in the air and posed in your graduate robes, clutching a scroll in your sweaty hands and smiling with your parents. Or maybe you did the casual thing and skipped the pageantry, content to get right down to it and start carving out your place in the world. No matter what you did on graduation day, the dream of early adulthood has ended and corporate lunches will soon replace all night wine rallies. Before taking a guess at a path never trodden, gather your wits and take a bite of advice; nothing is what it seems out there, as a single job attracts hundreds of applicants in a moment, let alone a day.
The Writing on the Page
Before you can pay back your HECS, HELP or student debts, you need to get your portfolio, CV and cover letters sorted. And no, I don’t mean the few clumsy templates you cobbled together while applying for summer jobs and internships. Entering a new world requires full documentation, beautifully presented and expertly composed, to give you the best chance possible to stand out from the crowd. While it’s hard to argue with a Masters or PhD, years of experience and plenty of industry confidence, a tailored CV and cover letter will hold the attention of hiring managers and place you on the list. Maybe not at the top, but hey, it’s better than the slush pile.
The Cash in Your Accounts
Never take a job for the money; no amount of cash will make working for a douche bag more tolerable. We spend most of our lives at work, surrounded by the same people and while it will never be possible you’ll like everyone and everything you do, you must be passionate about your vocation. Hard days and long nights lay ahead, no matter what industry you’re trying to breach, money alone won’t steer you through or comfort your tired bones, throbbing head and frayed nerves. Do not be tempted from your path for the sweet nectar of a couple thousand extra every year; you don’t know what they’re intending to buy from you in exchange. Work your way up instead.
The Knowledge in Your Grasp
Building on the previous paragraph, don’t be afraid to enjoy the bottom of the ladder for a while, even longer than a year. Learning is important, and not just book smarts or influencing stakeholders; humility will whittle away your green attitudes and preconceptions, halting your idealism in its tracks and opening up a realm of new opportunities. When you stop talking and assuming your knowledge rivals the experience of many, you learn more about yourself as a professional – even if it’s a demonstration of what kind of manager or specialist you don’t want to be one day. Every person, from the receptionist to the intern, has something to teach you, be open to their lessons and you’ll soon master the company and move up the ladder.
Have you recently graduated? Are you addicted to the internet or searching the boards for high paying jobs or humble entry level positions? Tell us about your experiences and frustrations below.