As “graduation season” begins, so does the wealth of career advice. This advice seems to come from every direction: those who are older and wiser, and those who have no business offering advice. One of the most discouraging pieces I have heard lately is to “prepare to be broke.” While that does sound terrifying, there is a nugget of wisdom embedded in there…. Be Prepared to Work Your Way Up. Coming out of college, students feel entitled to jobs “worthy” of their degrees, but those jobs require experience. Therefore, your goal should not be to rocket straight to the top, rather get your foot in the door—even if that means doing “menial” work.
Still, there are some considerations you have to keep in mind when choosing a job:
Is the experience relevant?
Unless your goal is to own your own movie theater, taking a job at your local cinema isn’t going to help you reach your goals. Your job may not be the money-maker you imagined in high school, but it does need to be a step in the right direction to reaching your career goals. Your job should help you gain the necessary experience and skills to attain a higher caliber job; to achieve that, your job needs to be relevant to your career.
Is there room in the company to work your way up?
Since your goal is not to stay in this position forever, you have to ensure the company provides space for you to grow. Your work, however menial, will feel more important to you if each day you spend comes with the potential to define your worth and prove yourself indispensable. However, for that to matter, you need to have room to work your way up.
Are you building a network of valuable connections?
Almost anyone will tell you, it is who you know that will get you places. Your first job is your chance to meet new (and hopefully important) people, and more importantly to make a good first impression. Getting to know people who matter will help you matter too, so use this new job as an opportunity to build a network of valuable connections.
Just remember, sometimes you won’t get the perfect job right out of college; it takes hard work and effort to prove yourself, but eventually you will find your perfect job. So, as you make the transition from college senior to working adult, take a deep breath and do your best to work your way up.