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5 Things to Help You Transition Into a Career After School Is Finally Over
With the second semester of the post-secondary school year winding down, it means the start of summer and for many a summer job. For an even smaller few this means graduation and the transition to “adulting”, which usually meant the search for a career and validation that you spent your time after high school wisely. For me this was a time of uncertainty and deep thought about what is it that I actually wanted to do FOREVER!! How was I going to take my new knowledge, shiny diploma and share it with the world?
Like many new graduates, my summer employment of maintaining a golf course didn't match my goals for working in my field of study. Although I had worked in day camps and children's programs I wasn’t sure how I would make the leap into a more long term career. It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone and started taking job searching seriously that I was successful in landing my first “real” job.
Here are a few things that helped me along my path to adulting (although I’m pretty sure I’m still not there yet):
- Get Help
Just like with your mental or physical health it is important to get help! Many communities and campuses have employment centres that can help you fix up a resume, practice interview skills, and connect you with your own personal employment counsellor. On top of all of these supports, employment centres often have their own networks of employers and connections to the hidden job market that can be a great way of find unique opportunities in your community.
I actually received my first full-time job by attending my local employment centre’s resume workshop. After completing my resume they noticed that I had the skills and qualifications they need for a program support position at the local youth centre and after a successful interview process my career began in youth program development and evaluation.
- Don’t Self Exclude
Often times when we look at job postings we look to see what skills and qualifications are needed for the position and as soon as we are missing one item we move on to the next, just because we have decided we are out of running before we have started the race. In most cases we have no idea how many applicants they will receive, if they will be more qualified then us or if they are even good candidates. If you are even remotely qualified for the position apply and let the employer decide if they want to interview you. Think of all the opportunities you may have missed by not even applying!
- Become Knowledgeable
Even before you apply for the job become knowledgeable about the organization or business you are applying to. Ask yourself does their mission, vision, values and philosophies match my own and do you feel like it would be a good fit? Next use the words and language that stood out to you in your cover letter and resume to show that you are knowledgeable about the company and that your philosophies match.
Once you get a call for an interview be sure to do your research! You would be surprised how many people have no idea about the jobs they are applying for. By being able to use the companies own language and specific examples in the interview demonstrates you did your homework and are willing to put effort in. Both great things to demonstrate to the employer!
- Be Confident
Applying for a job and going to and interview can be a challenge. In most cases we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position to be judged by the interviewers and selected for the job. Often times this is with little to no feedback other than you did or didn’t get the job. For many of us who enjoy feedback this process can be a challenge but it is important to remain confident along the journey. When you know that you have put in the work and given your best, that is all that matters. There are so many factors out of your control on why you may or may not get a job but you can control how you prepare and execute your plan for applying and the interview. Don’t get discouraged and keep working at it!
It is important to develop of a network of both professional and personal connections when you are searching for a job. By volunteering or attending community events, workshops and the employment centre in your community you can connect with many potential employers. It is also important to leverage personal networks which may provide you with leads or connections to the hidden job market. By making it known to your friends and family that you are looking for a job you might be surprised what opportunities come your way. Through having a more “personal” connection to the employer you may already be able to demonstrate your fit for the position and have people advocating on your behalf.
Finding a meaningful career takes time and persistence. It is important to set aside time each day for job searching or updating your resume and cover letter. Ensure you use this time wisely but don’t over do it. Job searching can be an onerous and sometimes discouraging process so don’t forget to include time for yourself in your schedule. Finding your dream job isn't going to be easy but if you put in the time, make connections and stay positive, the more successful you will be!
Interested in learning more about how ease the transition to adulting? Check out these other blogs to help get you started!
Planning for your Future
Finding your Passion and Staying Motivated
How to Form the Decisiveness Habit
The Action Habit: Put Everything into the First Step
Find blogs with relevant and up-to-date info about mental health, society and other youth topics; written by a variety of youth and professional contributors.