I am a recent grad and if I could go back in time, these are the three pieces of advice I would give myself:
1. “Be open-minded and explore.” It doesn’t matter what career path you took during post-secondary; just keep an open-mind of different possibilities. You may have taken a focus on HR but it is worthwhile to have an open mind and speak with non- HR individuals because there may be other career paths you didn’t think or know about so speak and learn from others. If you have the luxury to travel, this is the time to explore. Many seasoned professionals have told me “you have a whole lifetime to work but this is the only time where you can travel freely for a long period of time.” This is very true. Once you start to work, it is very hard to take a few weeks or months away to travel. You can learn so much about yourself, and the world at large from the people you encounter, while traveling. If you keep an open mind, you will learn so much about things you didn’t know. As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
2. “Continue networking, build your brand, increase your online presence and do your prep work.” Prep work includes spending time on your resume, making business cards, perfecting your 30 second pitch, researching the industries and companies you may be interested in. This sounds simple but it takes a lot of time and effort; the prep work pays off.
3. “Stay positive and don’t get discouraged.” It takes time to find a career. I remember speaking with alumni who graduated a semester or two before me and a number of them told me it took them 6 to 8 months to find a job they were interested in. At the time, I thought maybe the economy was bad, this group of alumni were being choosy or were not using the right job search strategies. After more than two months of job searching, I realized that there is no such thing as the “right” strategy, and it simply requires a lot of time. After speaking with many seasoned business professionals, they also indicate that it takes more than 6 months to find a job, especially in the Vancouver region, and so it’s necessary to stay positive during the process. Now I truly know what people meant when they say, “the job search is a job in itself” so stay positive and don’t get discouraged.
2. Agony and Elation: Searching for Work in a Turbulent Job Market by Nicole Davidson
3. What Three Pieces of Advice Should Post-Secondary Grads Take to Heart? by Bonnie Milne, PhD