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Happy Graduation… And May the Force Be With You

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Graduation, from both college and high school, is right around the corner. Regardless of which stage you’re walking across, your success is no small feat. You have prepared yourself for the next step. However, with each new beginning comes a measured amount of fear and uneasiness. The moment you’ve been planning for much of your young life is here, now what do you do with it?

The job market today can be an intimidating place for a new graduate. Jobs are in shorter supply than they were for graduates just a few short years ago. In 2013 just 16% percent of graduates had jobs lined up a month before graduation. For most grads it’s not quite as easy, with the average post college job search taking as long as 9 months. But don’t be discouraged. Just remember, it took Luke Skywalker two whole movies before anyone started to give him any respect as a Jedi, and with the recent economic improvements things are looking up. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are planning to hire 7.8% more new graduates than they did in 2013. Rest assured that while it might take a little bit longer to find the right job than you expected, your patience and persistence will pay off in the end.

vader gradOne of the biggest hurdles for new grads on the hunt for a job is the fear of deciding what to pursue. Many graduates are hoping to find their dream job right out of school. More often than not, this is unfortunately unrealistic. Most dream jobs require experience. Do you think they let just anyone walk in off the street and feed the Rancor? Try to think of your first job as a springboard to where you want your career to go. It’s a place to build experience and network. The knowledge and skills you gain in your first job are far more valuable than the paycheck you receive. The average college grad spends just 18 to 30 months in their first job before moving to something else.

yoda gradFocus on your job search. Being qualified and capable is crucial to finding a job, but knowing how to search is an important piece of the puzzle as well. Investigate job search techniques and refine your strategy. This can take a lot of time and effort but lucky for you, this just happens to be your day job.

My advice is to just find what you want to do and go do it, even if you can’t find anyone to pay you for it. Take an unpaid internship; take every project, and every opportunity you can find to build experience until the right job finds you. After all, if you wouldn’t do it for free, do you really think you’ll enjoy doing it for the rest of your working life?

starwars2But remember, you’re graduating from one challenging yet rewarding endeavor to the next. It’s a new beginning. You’ve just blown up the death star… seriously, congratulations. But the Emperor is still out there, and spoiler alert, he’s got another death star. So while you’re out there making plans and taking the first steps into the unknown, don’t forget to reward yourself. I mean… that exhaust port was no bigger than a womprat.

 

Written by Dan Payne

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