Career Advice We Wish We Knew At Graduation

Late night studying, weekend parties, barely making it to class on time–college really is unique when it comes to what’s considered acceptable. It’s no wonder that, once the diploma isplaced in their hands, the majority of new graduates are hit with the overwhelming feeling of “now what?”

And they’re not alone. 

While the majority of the team here at Guide to Graduate may have hung up our cap and gowns a bit longer ago than we wish to reveal, it doesn’t mean we don’t remember being faced with the fear of the unknown, let alone how to prepare for it. However, with our time away from college comes years of invaluable experience–experience that you can’t get from reading a textbook. 

From life experiences to workplace commonalities, we’ve compiled our favorite tips, advice, and lessons we wish we had known at our graduation. Thankfully, we’re sharing them here today so you might not have to go into some of the situations as blind as we were back in the day.

No One Cares About Your GPA

We hate to break it to you, but the stress your GPA holds over you ends once your diploma is in your hand. In the real world, experience will trump a GPA any day. So while your scholarly abilities are definitely impressive, save the GPA conversations for your family at the dinner table and focus on building the workplace skills you need to impress your new boss.

Slow Down

First things first: you don’t have to accomplish everything at once. In fact, we’d even suggest doing the opposite. Rather than sprinting up the company ladder as fast as you can, pause to collect and synthesize the experience, while embracing your inexperience. 

Society is always rushing to the top. By thinking of your career like a marathon rather than a sprint, you’ll be able to greet each day as its own challenge, giving it all you’ve got with plenty of time for reflection.

Accept That Your First Job is Not Your Final Job (and that’s a good thing)

Unless you’ve inherited the family business, chances are that the first role you land will definitely not be where you stay forever. And that’s a good thing.

Treat your first job as a learning experience on your way to the top. Prove your work ethic and determination by starting at the bottom, and show your passion and worth by putting in the work, and learning everything you can, from everyone, as you go. 

If nothing else, you’ll make new connections, learn new skills and insights, and your career likes and dislikes as you build up your resume and industry experience.

Be a Lifelong Learner

We know–the last thing you probably want to do once you’ve finally graduated is open up another textbook. But that’s exactly what you should do. Commit yourself to a career of lifelong learning. Remain curious, ask questions, continue to learn and master new skills. 

If you end each day by asking yourself “what did I learn today?” and are always able to come up with at least one answer, you’re on the right track. 

Finally, remember that when it comes to careers, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What’s right for you may not be a good fit for your college roommate, and that’s okay! 

As long as you’re experimenting and building up your experience and education along the way, you’re successful by our standards, and that’s worth celebrating!

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