This blog post is written by Evelyn, a Guide to Graduate writer, self-employed consultant, and mom to a new grad.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been more than awhile since I graduated from college. However, it still feels like it was just yesterday that I was entering the workforce, bright-eyed and energized; ready to take on any challenge thrown my way. Afterall, anything to help me reach my goal of climbing up the corporate ladder was worth it in my opinion.
So, you can imagine my surprise when my newly graduated daughter shared her next life goal with me. Rather than seeking out the corner office suite, she’s focused on being exposed to as many learning opportunities as she can. If this means starting at the bottom to learn everything about an industry, she will. If a role requires her to wear many hats, that’s an exciting opportunity she’ll gladly take advantage of.
And she’s not the only one. According to a study by The Muse, the number one priority for new grads is learning and growth opportunities. To learn a few tips on seeking those opportunities out, keep reading.
Five Ways to Seek Out Learning and Growth Opportunities
Get a Career Coach or Mentor
With more than thirty years of experience in various industries, the biggest piece of advice I can extend first-hand is to get a coach or mentor (or both!) to help guide you along the way.
From simply being a sounding board, to making valuable introductions, to coaching and offering new perspectives, it’s always helpful to have an unbiased party to help you navigate the inevitable twists and turns of your career.
Fish for Feedback
Often, we take no feedback as a positive signal. However, no feedback is also a missed opportunity. When we don’t ask for ways to improve, or alternative suggestions, we miss out on alternate perspectives and learning moments.
Whenever possible, ask for feedback from your manager, mentors, and colleagues. Gather as much insight and new information as you can. You’d be surprised how much you’ll learn, and how much of that will turn into valuable experience that you’ll tap into throughout your career.
For remote workers who miss out on in-person training and networking events custom to the office (or those who love to learn at home!), e-learning is a fantastic avenue to enrich your professional development. And, lucky for new grads, especially, it’s not only affordable, a lot of it’s free.
From experts on YouTube, to professional development e-courses on sites like Coursera, anyone can jump online to build a skill. So long as you have a thirst for knowledge, e-learning will be there to quench it!
Build Your Network (yes, even at the bar)
We’ve said it before: If you think live networking events sound a bit dated, you’re right. But that’s only because they’ve been rebranded into meetups or happy hours to attract a younger professional audience. Sites like meetup.com offer a range of local groups and networking opportunities to take advantage of in your area.
From industry specific meetings to casual meetings, you’re guaranteed to find a network to speak to your passions and interests. And who knows – you may just find your next work bestie over a beer at your local bar!
Seek Out Roles that Require You to Wear a Lot of Hats
The more hats you have to wear, the more roles, responsibilities, and skill sets you’re exposed to. In layman’s terms, it’s a fantastic resume builder. And it may be easier to land than you think.
If you thrive in multitasking, seek out roles in startup companies or small businesses. These types of jobs not only require you to wear more hats than those working in a corporate setting, but can also skyrocket your career, and expose you to decades of experience in a much shorter span of time.
If you could refocus your priorities fresh out of graduation, what would you hone in on? Share it with our new grads in the comments!