Graduating is a big accomplishment. It shows that you have dedication and courage. Having a degree creates opportunities and options you may never have had before. In fact, there may be so many options now that you feel overwhelmed.
Whether you are graduating from high school, a university, or a vocational school, part of the challenge after graduating is identifying from all that you can do, what you want to do.
The following are common concerns and suggestions for those who are searching for opportunities after graduation:
Set goals. Take time to identify short- and long-term professional goals. Keep in mind while you are making your goals that you do not have to know what you are going to do for the rest of your life. Make goals that can help you identify better what you want to do in the future. The Career Workshop can help you identify and plan for your goals. After you make goals, write them down, keep them where you can see them, and work toward achieving those goals.
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life” (Preach My Gospel , 146).
Network. Talk to everyone about the skills and abilities you have and the type of work you desire. As you talk to people, share your “Me in 30 Seconds” statement and your power statements. You can learn about work opportunities through networking that you cannot learn about in other ways.
Perform informational interviews. As you network, find people who know about the industries, companies, and positions that interest you. Perform informational interviews. Find out what they know and ask them for advice. Also, talk to professionals in your field, career advisers from your school, and your past professors. Get their advice and learn from them. Whenever you conduct an informational interview, whether it is formal or not, ask them for names of other people with whom you can speak.
Attend workshops. Employment Resource Services and Self-Reliance Centers offer several free workshops.
- The Career Workshop helps you set goals, find resources that can help you to be successful, prepare for job searching, interviewing, and follow-ups, and be successful once you find a job.
- The Self-Employment Workshop focuses on helping participants learn how to create a successful business plan by helping them:
- Refine their goals and business ideas.
- Analyze the current market conditions, the industry’s background, the customer base, and the competition.
- Prepare a marketing strategy that addresses the product, price, place of business, and promotion.
- Determine the expected costs of starting and sustaining a business.
- The Professional Placement Program (available only in the United States) helps professionals, managers, and executives find or improve their employment. Those who are interested in attending the Professional Placement Program can call their nearest Church employment center or self-reliance center to see if it offers this program.
Identify your transferrable skills. If you are just getting into a field of work that you have little experience in, consider the skills, talents, and abilities you have gained in previous jobs or volunteer experiences. Think about how your abilities have helped you to achieve specific accomplishments. Think about how these skills can help you in a job. Be proud of the skills and talents you possess.
Consider taking internships and volunteer opportunities. It can be tricky to search for a job in an industry where you have little experience. One way you can get experience is by fulfilling an internship or by volunteering. Many internship and volunteer opportunities allow you to work in the field with little or no experience. As you work for the company, you can gain work experience and learn how the company runs. Sometimes, companies hire interns and volunteers to take permanent positions on the staff after they fulfill their intern or volunteer experience. Even if the company does not hire you after you complete your internship or volunteer work, you will have industry-relevant work for your résumé or curriculum vitae.
Continue your educational pursuits. It may be daunting to consider getting another degree, but the benefits can be well worth the effort. Think about what you want to do with your career. Conduct informational interviews with people in the industry or profession that interests you. Ask them what level of education they recommend you get. Talk to many people. Find out everything you can about your options. After you have researched your options, prayerfully consider what you should do.
Continue getting a spiritual education. Make goals that can help you gain spiritual knowledge. Create a study plan and follow it. Keep a study journal in which you can write down your notes and thoughts. Take institute classes if they are available in your area. Make a goal to graduate from institute if you have not yet.
Do not stop learning. Even though you may be done with school, it does not mean that you need to stop learning. In fact, you will be far more successful in life if you continue learning. Find opportunities to learn about things that interest you. Make goals about what you want to learn, and follow your progress.
Now that you have graduated, your social opportunities may have diminished. However, there are ways you can continue to meet and socialize with new people.
Get more involved in Church activities. Attend your ward and stake activities. Take an institute class if it is available in your area.
Get involved in the community. Look at what you can do to help and improve your community. You will be surprised to find out how many volunteer opportunities are in your area. Find an organization or a cause that can use your help, skills, and talents. If you see something in your community that needs to be done, work on it. As you get involved in the community, you will meet new people and discover social opportunities.
Getting involved in the community can also help you get a job. As you serve in the community, you can find networking opportunities and acquire new skills. Additionally, many companies are impressed with people who serve in the community. Let potential employers know about the volunteer work you are involved in that is relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Join networking groups. Get involved in networking and social networking. Join with the purpose of helping others out as well as finding contacts for you. Prepare a networking profile that you can give to your contacts.
Choose a mentor. Select someone who can be your mentor. Look for someone who lives by true principles. He or she does not have to be a member of the Church, but look for someone who will give you good, principle-based advice.
Become a mentor. Think about being a mentor. You have learned a lot in the time you have been in school. Consider what you would have done differently had you been more informed. Identify people who would appreciate your help. Teach them what you know. Give them names of other people who can help them succeed as well.
Dress professionally for an interview. Learn who your interview audience is going to be. In most situations, appropriate interview attire is business or business casual dress. If you do not have the resources to dress professionally, talk to your priesthood or Relief Society leader or ward employment specialist to find out what resources your ward or community has.
Be healthy. Think about your health habits. Make time to exercise, sleep well, and eat healthy. As you take care of your body, you will be able to accomplish more and increase your opportunities.