Are you getting ready to graduate and still grappling with the tricky question of what you want to be when you “grow up?” First of all, put down that guilt burden — some folks in their 50’s and 60’s haven’t figured it out, and Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was nearly 80.
While you shouldn’t feel guilty for being a bit lost, you still need to get down to business. Here are six tips for how to choose a career path after graduation.
1. Start With Your Advisor
Your academic advisor should be your first stop on the road to choosing a post-graduation career path. They’re there to provide intense support through the educational portion of your career development journey.
If you thought their job was only to help you get into the right classes once you decide on your major, think again. Many can help you sort through the selection process and advise you on minors and extracurricular activities to help you reach your goals.
Many schools will not let you enroll until you meet with this individual. When you do, please make the most of your time together by preparing. Write a list of questions — none is too frivolous, so don’t be shy. You’re discussing a significant portion of your life, so you owe it to yourself to get your questions about projected salaries and work-life balance before investing in your education.
2. Tackle Internships
As valuable as your advisor is, their guidance can’t substitute for actual, on-the-job experience. Often, the only way to discover whether you’ll enjoy a given profession is to try it on for size, and internships offer a low-risk way to do so without making your resume look like swiss cheese.
If you get lucky, you might land one that also helps you defray your educational costs. Some businesses offer paid internships, so don’t overlook the internet and local classified job boards when you search. Your labor could help cover the cost of books.
However, if you don’t have the necessary qualifications to land a paid gig yet, you can still seek work in a related field. For example, if you can’t become a classroom aide until you earn your degree, could you coach or teach a summer camp if you’re considering an education career?
3. Consider Travel
There’s so much to the world that it’s impossible to take it all in during one short lifetime. However, broadening your horizons helps you find your passion.
One option you have for funding your excursion is doing so while you study. Your advisor may help you to locate paid overseas internships and enroll you in a study abroad program. If you fall in love with France, your desire to emigrate to that nation might help solidify your future career path.
Somewhere along the line, someone probably told you that you could enhance your resume through volunteering. Guess what? This tip does double-duty when it comes to choosing a career path after graduation.
Volunteering lets you try various endeavors for size and get an inside look at how different organizations run. For example, if you’re considering a career working with the elderly, helping out a nursing home gives you an inside look at a typical workday for someone in your desired profession. Plus, you get your foot in the door — many facilities lend hiring preference to those who have already proven their work ethic.
5. Sign on With a Temp Agency
Temp agencies aren’t only for out-of-work folk. They could be one of your best post-graduation career exploration bets because they let you take on numerous assignments for various companies. You’ll get a hands-on introduction to many different organizations and work types, helping you make an educated decision as to which you like the best.
Another perk to this work style is that you can pick and choose assignments, giving you more flexibility over your schedule. Maybe you can’t work full-time when school is in session, but an agency could hook you up with a winter or spring break-long project. The best part is that candidates don’t have to pay a fee to apply with an agency, so get your resume submitted asap.
Guess what? Thanks to the novel coronavirus, it might be some time before you have to pray that your best interview suit doesn’t get messed up on public transportation to attend a career fair. Many of these have moved to the virtual world for now — search and sign up, please.
However, please don’t make the mistake of being business on top, party on the bottom. Some companies ask you to show them your workplace arrangement via cam, and if they catch a glimpse of your Spongebob PJs under your sensible suit jacket, you might lose an opportunity.
Choose a Post-Graduation Career Path With These 6 Tips
It’s challenging to choose a career path after graduation, so please don’t stress if you still feel unsure. Instead, please use the tips above to design your dream.