I know what it feels like, graduating from a course that you studied for 4-5 years. You’re getting ready to go out into the working world with your aspirations and goals set high. This is brilliant, but there are a few things you need to come to terms with before you take the leap!
1. I struggled when I first finished my undergrad in Pharmacology. I built up a specific image of what I wanted to do with my career but what I didn’t realize was that to achieve the success you want, you have to start from the beginning. What I was doing was looking too much into the future and not taking it one step at a time. It’s great to know where you want to be in 2, 4 or even 10 years time but everyone has to start somewhere and that “somewhere” is usually something you didn’t necessarily plan.
I went onto to do my masters and by the end of my 5th year in University I realized I was capable of so much but that “so much” needed experience. So I set out on my journey to look for that experience. It may not be the EXACT role you have always wanted, but if you ask me.. that is even better, it gives you a chance to learn a lot more than you originally intended.
2.We all are familiar with the struggle of being newly qualified but yet all the prospective jobs we find ask for 10 years’ experience?!(okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea). I used to really doubt my ability when it came to applying for jobs that asked for 2-3 years experience.
When you’re applying to a company, especially a large multinational, you will be appropriately trained and guided for your initial months. It is your capability to grasp this knowledge that your potential employers will want to see. Experience is important, as I mentioned in my first point but don’t be afraid to apply if it asks for 2-3 years of previous experience. And hey, in the worst case you will still get experience taking interviews. As Richard Branson said “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
3.The importance of networking cannot be emphasized enough. I have always been a people person and so I did begin the networking journey earlier than most people my age. I had started to get out there and build rapport toward the mid to end of my undergrad life. Had I known the value of it, I would have started even before I began university. LinkedIn is a great resource to get yourself out there and also great for seeing what is out there for you. I would suggest extra-curricular activities at university, I have been part of a consulting group that is now making its way to worldwide campuses. Through this group I built relationships that not only guided me to my first job, but relationships that I still carry on today.
Ireland is a small country and word gets around fast. So whenever you meet someone who you admire professionally or would perhaps like to get to know, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Professionals love talking about what they do and with recent graduates or students, people tend to be very receptive.
4. This next point coincides a bit with the first one. Learn to accept challenges in you career path. This is the only way you will ever learn and progress through the career ladder. Some people are okay with doing the same job for 20 years and that’s perfectly fine, I just knew I was not one of those people. I understood that different challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone was the only way to move forward. Believe me, falling hard a few times can really increase your motivation and make you a stronger individual. So, keeping your goals in mind,don’t ever be afraid to push the boundaries!