Our talented Grants Manager, Ava Rosenblatt, shares her advice.
Graduating from school and entering the working world can be an intimidating turning point in your life, but it is also an exciting time full of possibilities. If you are finding yourself in this position, well, first things first – congratulations! You’ve got a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to, but having some anxiety and confusion about how to approach this transition is very normal. Here are some tips and guidance on how to overcome these fears and get on track for success:
Pick a subject or career path that interests you. Having a sense of what types of career opportunities you would like to pursue will give you more direction and purpose than just looking for any old job. If you are passionate about a subject, that passion will shine through when you meet with professionals and potential employers, whether your passion is business, medicine, or cake decorating. Don’t be afraid that you will be locked-in to this path forever, because…
It’s OK to change your mind or to have more than one interest! Your interests provide direction and will help guide you through your career path, but don’t limit yourself by sticking to a direction too rigidly – particularly if you no longer find it pleasant or satisfying. If there are several things that interest you, why not do both? Juggling two careers isn’t always feasible, but if you have a job in a field you are not sure about, you can always learn about or volunteer in another in your spare time.
Build connections and experience with people who share your passion. Whatever your passion may be, be proactive in searching for new ways to get involved with people who share your interests in your local community. Volunteer for a cause in a related field, or seek internships or other opportunities to learn from successful people in your industry. If you recently graduated college, talk to your professors and advisors about pursuing jobs and internships. If not, search online for volunteer opportunities and mentors on sites like idealist.org.
Ask for help. Once you’ve gotten some experience and met some professionals in an area that interests you, don’t be afraid to ask for help building your career. Many people in your life would be flattered if you asked them for advice, mentorship, or to be a professional reference. You never know who could introduce you to your next employer!
Don’t be discouraged. If your job application gets rejected or an opportunity doesn’t work out, it’s normal to be disappointed or upset. The important thing is that you learn from it, and that you don’t give up on yourself. Sometimes you might have to try a lot of different things before you find one that works for you, and that’s OK.
Never stop learning. Just because you’re not in school anymore doesn’t mean you’re done learning, your learning is just a little more hands-on that it was before. Take this time to get to know yourself, your work style, and your ideal path to a fulfilling life – and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them along the way!
Good luck out there!