Each year, new graduates enter the workforce, each entering a different job market than the one before them. Successfully navigating such a big change can be difficult on your own, so it helps to consider the advice of those who have walked the same path before and are achieving their goals.
Here, 12 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council weigh in on their own journeys and offer their best advice to new graduates entering the workforce looking to launch their own successful careers.
1. Know that passion will take you far
Your degree does not define your limits, nor dictate your success. The biggest thing I’ve learned in business is that you can be successful in any area you’re passionate about. With the world’s increasing interconnectivity, if you have a unique idea backed by passion, it’s relatively easy to find highly qualified people to build your business. Ideas are the new currency. – Alexis Austin, Legal Law Group
2. Prioritize building your network
New graduates should prioritize building a strong professional network through industry events, alumni connections, and professional associations. A strong network can provide valuable mentoring, work contacts and collaboration opportunities, helping to launch their careers by providing new experiences and connections. – Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Fund
3. Define what success means to you
Define what success means to you and the lifestyle you seek. This can help you set personalized goals and priorities, ensuring your career path aligns with your values, passions and aspirations. By defining your version of success, you can better evaluate job offers, career changes, and networking opportunities, leading to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven professional life. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
4. Learn to solve problems
Learn how to add value to any situation by offering solutions instead of discussing problems. Anyone can learn this skill by practicing mental models like the Eisenhower Matrix and Occam’s Razor. For example, you can list the problems you see in a work environment, break down the ones that are urgent, and then solve them accordingly and quickly. Be the first to identify and solve. – Libby Rothschild, Chief Dietitian
5. Always wake up feeling excited and grateful
I would say to the new graduates: I was in your shoes 16 years ago when I graduated from pharmacy school and started my residency. I would like to remind you all to wake up each day excited and grateful for what you have. As you start your career, make decisions based on where you want to be instead of making decisions based on where you are now. How do you want your life to be in 2028? – Dr. Christine Manukyan, STORRIE Institute™
6. Stay eager to learn
College gave you a foundation for learning; workforce will give you real practice. One of the advantages of companies hiring recent graduates is that you are malleable. They can provide you with training opportunities, try to steer you away from forming “bad habits” and set you up for professional growth as long as you’re dedicated to the job. Keep a good attitude and keep an open mind – your leadership is on notice. – Greg Ashton, GROW
7. Think about your perfect job and go find it
Take a moment alone to sit down with a pen and paper and write the perfect job for yourself. Be as detailed as you like. Don’t cling to your sense of what’s realistic because as a new graduate, you don’t know all the options the world has. Describe your day, your compensation, the impact of your work, the type of people you work with, and everything else that matters to you. Then go get it! – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
8. Take the initiative
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you; find them and create them for yourself. Whether it’s taking on additional responsibilities, seeking mentors, or networking with professionals in your field, be willing to put in the work and take calculated risks to achieve your goals. Be open to learning from your mistakes and adjusting your course as needed. – Kelly Kercher, K3 Technology
9. Embrace the unknown
Embrace the unknown! As new graduates enter the workforce, being open to new experiences, challenges and opportunities will help them learn, grow and adapt in a dynamic work environment. It’s a mindset that fosters resilience, innovation and continuous learning, setting them up for a successful career launch. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows
10. Trust your instincts
Trust your gut about job postings that seem to have red flags. While sometimes you have to settle for less than satisfactory positions, sometimes companies take advantage of your lack of experience to pay less or violate candidate expectations. Never hesitate to ask trusted mentors in your life for help reviewing contracts or terms. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
11. Prioritize self-care
One piece of advice I would give to new graduates entering the workforce is to prioritize self-care. Running a race can be stressful and overwhelming, and it’s important to take time to recharge and avoid burnout. This can mean different things to different people, whether it’s taking breaks throughout the day, practicing mindfulness, or finding a physical activity you enjoy. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra
12. Be open to all opportunities
Be open to opportunities that may not seem ideal to you. You’re not likely to land your dream job on day one. Being receptive to the different roles you come across will help you find the right position. You never know what life will throw at you, but the more receptive you are to opportunities, the further you will go. – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
As a recent graduate looking to launch your career, the thought of stepping into the unknown can be daunting. At Ikaroa, we understand the challenges of transitioning from an academic to a professional lifestyle. That’s why we’ve put together 12 pieces of advice that can help you get off to a flying start in your new career.
1. Have A Long-Term Strategy: Set a target of where you want to be in five years and work backwards. Ask yourself what skills and experience you will need to succeed, and plan out how you’re going to get there.
2. Take Professional Development Seriously: Make sure to make the most of the opportunities your employer gives you for professional development – courses, conferences, talks etc. Regularly developing your skills will give you the edge when it comes to getting ahead.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: You don’t have to be the master of everything, it’s okay to ask for assistance. Finding a mentor who can help you navigate the corporate world is a great way to access advice and guidance.
4. Establish A Network: Whether it be in-person or virtual, join networks that are relevant to your career. Make use of sites such as LinkedIn to expand your network and attend jobs-fair or relevant industry events. This can help open up potential opportunities for you.
5. Take On Side Projects: As a recent graduate you may feel like you’re still trying to find your feet, but you can use this to your advantage – you have the freedom to try things that your more experienced colleagues may not. Taking on side projects or developing your own business will build a portfolio of skills and experiences.
6. Feed Your Career With Interesting Work: Work to find a job that interests you and provides interesting experiences. This will help you stay engaged and will give you a greater sense of satisfaction in your work.
7. Remain Positive: Don’t let the pressures of a new job get in the way of your progress. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you stay focused and productive, as well as well-liked by your colleagues.
8. Know When To Move On: As you progress in your career, it will become clearer that continuing to stay in one job may not be the best move for you. Don’t be afraid to make a move if a better opportunity comes along.
9. Stay Motivated and Organized: Create a plan of action and break it into achievable short and long-term goals. Set yourself targets and deadlines, and reward yourself when you reach them.
10. Keep Up With The Latest Technology: As a fast-moving industry, technology is always evolving. This means staying up-to-date with the latest technology trends will be key to success for any tech professional.
11. Prioritise Work-Life Balance: Working long hours does not necessarily mean getting better results. Staying healthy and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing should be your number one priority.
12. Have Fun: Don’t forget to have fun – explore your interests, create experiences and build relationships with people, as they’re all part of building a successful career.
At Ikaroa, we believe that all of these steps will help recent graduates to successfully launch their careers. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone and making the most of the opportunities that come your way will give you the best chance of success. Best of luck on your journey!