By Assistant Director for The Center for Career Development, Kelli Robinson
Graduating seniors are asking many questions about job search strategies. The CCD staff is here to support you. The biggest message we want to offer is: Relax and congratulate yourself. You’ve worked too hard not to do either. When doubt starts creeping about the future, know this: Pandemic or not, job search realities still exist, as do myths that cloud them. Let’s address some common fables that are surfacing.
Myth #1: I need to know the exact job I am pursuing after graduation.
Reality: You don’t need to have it all figured out. Nothing is forever, including a chosen career path.
This myth paralyzes people into inaction. Remember, you are searching for your first full-time job after college. What it will be is a stepping stone in the career path you’re creating as you go.
Think about how much you’ve changed in the past 10 years, a pattern that will continue. Your skills and self-awareness will increase. You will assume new roles, personally and professionally. Your interests will change. Furthermore, the world of work will continue evolving with jobs yet to be invented. Podcast producer, app developer, sustainability manager are all jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
The question shouldn’t be “how could you change careers” but rather “how could you not?”
Myth #2: To consider a job it must meet all of my criteria.
Reality: It’s unlikely one job checks off all the boxes.
Establishing a “pros vs. cons list” helps evaluate job options. Understand that there will be cons. A job may be in your ideal location, but not in the industry on which you are focused. Another role may be a great professional fit but found in a city that doesn’t top your list. Something has to give. When searching for opportunities, less filters yield more options.
Myth #3: Searching career sites is the best job search strategy.
Reality: Connecting with people is more productive in the long run.
Scrolling job boards gives a false sense of accomplishment. Sure, you are viewing job openings. But how many other job seekers are seeing those same positions? And how many opportunities aren’t you learning about because they’re never posted?
Regardless of a poor or stable job market, it’s a fact: Job boards can be helpful, but successful applicants spend more time pursuing career conversations than perusing job boards. Find a balance that favors networking.
#4: If I don’t know my career path, graduate school can help me figure it out.
Reality: Graduate school is purposeful, not exploratory.
Applying to graduate school should be done with intention, not by default. Know why you are pursuing the degree. Your graduate school professors hit the ground running the first day of class and you’re expected to keep pace. Knowing how the program fits your professional development is critical.
Don’t ponder job search questions and fears in a vacuum. Schedule an appointment with a career advisor to start the conversation. Seniors – we work with alumni too, so know that the CCD is available to chat after your status changes from student to graduate!