Now that graduation season has rolled around again, I offer five pieces of advice that have come out of my job-search coaching with both advanced-degree grads and undergrads.
1. You will not be getting your “dream” job unless your dream job is a realistic match with your current level of education, knowledge, hard and soft skills, experience and values.
Also, it’s important to know that as your career progresses and your talents and interests are further developed and tested, what you consider to be your dream job today is likely to change. I also like the advice that NBC anchor Lester Holt recently told new grads at Sacramento State. To paraphrase, Holt said to take a look around every time you get to the next step on the career ladder; you might find that you have already arrived at your dream job.
2. Build your professional network on LinkedIn, and keep building it well beyond your current job search. It will pay great dividends in the future, but you may not see how or why right now.
3. A good job is much harder to find than you may think. Follow a networking-driven job search process, and look for professional help if you find yourself losing confidence or direction.
4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your compensation. When you accept that first offer after graduation, you will likely be establishing your salary range for the next several years.
5. Expect to move on to the next opportunity in two or three years. Even if you like the work and the company culture, there is a good chance that you will feel the need to seek a greater level of responsibility or compensation, and there is always the chance that another employer will seek you out — especially if you stay current and active on LinkedIn.