16 Experts Share Their Best Career Advice for Graduates



Career Experts

Today I’m super excited to be able to bring to you some of the world’s leading career experts who have willingly offered their greatest piece of advice for graduates looking to successfully launch their careers.

At Gradrecruit, we want to ensure that you are fully prepared, equipped with the best knowledge and that you set yourself apart from the crowd. To do this, we bring in career experts from around the world to share their experiences and their advice.

Today, we bring to you CEOs, job-board managers, career advice experts, application experts and the best career bloggers around to help you set yourself apart and launch your career.

This post brings to you a wealth of knowledge and advice that will definitely help you focus on the right areas!

Personally, I’d like to thank all of our career experts for sharing their advice and helping make Gradrecruit the number one destination for Graduates looking to launch their careers.

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to 16 experts who share their best career advice for graduates.

 

Penelope Trunk

Founder of Brazen Careerist, businesswoman, author and blogger.

Brazen Careerist

The person you work for matters more than the company or the industry. Work for someone who will help you grow and steer your career.

Heather R. Huhman

Founder of Comerecommended. Helps Gen Y find internships and entry-level jobs.

Comerecommended

Be your very own marketer and publicist! Now that you’ve graduated college and have some experience under your belt from internships or volunteering, it’s time to market your talents and skills. Choose your strongest skills and accomplishments as a tool to market yourself to employers. You can do this by highlighting these skills and accomplishments in your resume, cover letter, portfolio, or personal website.

Although social media is a very important tool for building your brand, it’s important to remember to build relationships offline. Take the time to meet with colleagues or an alumni from your program for coffee. It’s also a good a idea to consider joining a professional organization after college as soon as possible. The in-person connections you make through networking and joining organizations can help you spread the word about your expertise and skills.

As soon as you graduate from college, start sharing your knowledge with others. Join communities (online and offline) and participate in open forums on Twitter or LinkedIn to get your knowledge out there. You have a lot to offer as a recent college grad, so start sharing your knowledge with people in your networks to help them succeed. By doing this, you will begin to influence the people in your communities and improve your credibility as a young expert in your field.

Pamela Slim

Business Coach and author of Escape From Cubicle Nation.

Escape From Cubicle Nation

There is no perfect job.

I am so sorry if you agonized over choosing a major.  It must have been really hard to decide the subject matter to specialize in that would prepare you for a fruitful career.  So here is the good and bad news. Bad news:  you may not work in a field that has anything to do with your major.  Good news: just as there is no perfect major, there is no perfect job.  As soon as you settle in to the perfect situation, it will change, your manager will leave, your company will be acquired, or you will be promoted and everything you loved about your job will change. A much better way to view your career is by observing the kind of work that interests you. Which activities energize you? What kind of people bring out the best in you?  If you view your interests and and skills as ingredients searching for a recipe instead of searching for the perfect job, you will be much happier over the course of your life.

Nicole Crimaldi Emerick

Career blogger and social media strategist

Ms Career Girl

The best two things you can do during those tough first years after graduation is get professional experience (even if it’s not always fun) and expand your social circle. Don’t worry if your first job isn’t perfect. And most definitely don’t worry if your job doesn’t relate to your major or your current idea of a dream job.  Every job you have and everyone you meet along the way will be part of your career story as it unfolds.  Keep working and keep socializing your way to success.

J.T. O’Donnell

Founder of Careerealism and CEO of CareerHMO.com

Careerealism

The one piece of advice I give college grads is to not make the mistake of thinking you are going to get a job by applying to jobs online. Less than 2% of all jobs gotten today are done so via online job boards. 8 out of 10 times, your application is never seen by a human being. That’s because the applicant tracking systems companies use screen you out based on lack of experience and key skill sets. Meanwhile, 80% of all jobs today are gotten via referral.

New grads need to learn how to connect with people working at firms they’d like to work for and then set up informational interviews as a way to learn what it will take to get hired by the firm. The face-to-face time gives them a chance to let the employee get to know them and potentially refer them to an entry-level job. The more info interviews you do, the faster you’ll find work.

While applying on job boards might sound easier, it’s also completely ineffective. Learning to network is part of becoming professionally “mature.” So, students who are brave enough to get out there and start meeting people will be seen as more professional than their peers and get hired sooner.

Andrew G. Rosen

Founder and editor of career advice blog Jobacle.com

Be adaptive, maintain a positive attitude, and be willing to break out of your comfort zone.  You will end up doing things early in your career that you never imagined yourself doing.  Whether you enjoy them or not, they will help shape the worker you will become — so just go with it.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Author & CEO of Xceptional HR

Expect the unexpected. Your work and career path will not go as planned. Be flexible, nimble and open to change but do your research. You never know where new opportunities may take you amazing places you’ve never dreamed.

Debra Wheatman

Resume, personal brand and career coach.

Careers Done Write

Graduates launching their careers need to be proactive to ensure they identify appropriate opportunities that lead to an offer of employment. For example, graduates should begin by participating in formal networking activities, joining and participating in LinkedIn groups, working with their career services centre, and getting in contact with their alumni association. It is imperative that they build and nurture sustainable relationships that will serve them well throughout their career – not just for the short-term. Those relationships can pay dividends over time.

Jenny Blake

Bestselling author, micro-business coach and international speaker

Life After College

Think of your career like a smart phone, not a ladder. Rather than worrying about finding the “right” job or following the “right” path, just start somewhere. Your education and upbringing are your out-of-the-box phone; now it’s up to you download the apps you want and need to feel fulfilled. Apps can be skills, job experiences, side hustles, hobbies — anything that helps round out your career. Career is an evolution and it’s very dynamic — at this stage it’s all about experimenting and gaining experience. Just remember to recharge — otherwise you and your phone will be headed for a crash.

Jacob Share

Job search expert and founder of JobMob

JobMob

Short-term: start getting professional experience asap. If you can get a career job right away, great. This could be near where you live or online, by freelancing. If you can’t, or while you’re looking, volunteer somewhere where you can use your professional skills daily. This could be at an organization, or online as part of e.g. an open-source project (which have lots of roles that are non-technical).

Long-term: build your personal brand so that you become more memorable for your expertise. Blog or vlog, become active in industry forums on social media (or elsewhere), do whatever it takes to become the go-to person for your profession in your area or favorite online community. Once you impress enough people, they will start to offer you jobs and send you to people who can, again and again.

Sudy Bharadwaj

Co-founder and CEO of Jackalope Jobs

Jackalope Jobs

Your learning journey is not over, it has just begun.  You need to learn how to succeed in a multi-generational environment (baby boomers, GenX/Y/Millennial’s).  You will need to continue to refine your skills (who knew about social media and its influence 10 years ago?).  You also need to learn to adopt; realize that your career may (and probably will) morph into something you never thought about.  Keep learning!

Kathryn Minshew

Founder & CEO, The Muse

My greatest piece of advice is to be flexible, and keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities. Some of the most incredible twists, turns or boosts to my career came when I was least expecting it!

(Also, focus more on what work you enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis than which industry or career you imagine yourself in long term. It’s getting good at the skills and execution that really matters in today’s job search.

Karl Staib

Coach and author of Work Happy Now

Work Happy Now

Your career should be based on living your core values, leveraging your superpowers and making a positive difference in people’s lives. One concept builds on the next. Every morning you should check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I living all three of these concepts?” If the answer is no then figure out what is the biggest obstacle is and how you can remove it. Many times this obstacle will be your inner negative voice (AKA your arch nemesis). Listen to this voice, but don’t let it make decisions for you. You really do have superpowers. Powers that no one else has, you just need to let go of the fear and let them out for the world to enjoy.

Ritika Trikha

Publisher of career advice

Career Bliss

Make sure you seize every internship opportunity to its fullest. Internships are one of the best way to get your foot in the door, make connections, feel out the company culture and then launch your career! Work insanely hard on becoming indispensable at one specialized task during your internship and let them know you’d like to work there full-time. At the very least, you’ll walk away with exposure, skills and strong recommendations.

Jared O’Toole

Founder of Under30Media

Under30CEO

Don’t settle or forget your dreams. We all have to put our time in and that usually means taking jobs or doing things to make a living but we don’t necessarily love. Too many people end up with careers they have no passion for but do it for 30 years anyway. You might land your dream job right out of school or it might take you 20 years. Either way always have a goal in mind and work for it. You only get one shot at this life so don’t settle for anything less no matter what people around you say.

Caroline Ghosn

Founder and CEO of LevoLeague

Levo League

Retain your sense of childlike wonder, and retain the optimism you have with respect to the way that the world could be better. You will be infusing the workforce with a sense of optimism and youth – you are a breath of fresh air. Cultivate the physical and mental exercises that help you to maintain that centeredness and clarity that you acquire from years of focusing on your education away from the “real world,” as your ideas around change are your biggest asset when you first move into the workforce and don’t have experience on your side. Someone once said to me at McKinsey, with respect to the incoming class of freshly graduated analysts, that “What I love most about having an Analyst on my team is the sense of energy and possibility that they bring. They are inspired and willing to propose different ways of doing things and are a force for the world being better.” Cultivate that – it is an incredible strength.

 

Wrapping Up

Wow! Now that was awesome :)

Did you pick up some themes? Some of the key themes I take away from this are:

  • Your career is a life choice… therefore, do what you are passionate about and the success will follow
  • You are the driver of your career… you need to get out there and proactively engage with employers and groups and expand your network
  • Be open… your first job probably isn’t going to be everything you thought it will be. But be open to possibilities.
  • Build your brand… think of what do you stand for, where do you want to go and how are you going to professionally portray yourself
  • Continue learning and developing.. it’s up to you to make this happen

A HUGE thanks once again to all of our experts! It’s great to have you here and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

 

For the comments

Which piece of advice resonates the most with you?

What are you struggling with the most?

What are you most nervous about or what questions do you have?

We would love to hear your thoughts!

 

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