Rarely does anyone walk across the stage at their college graduation, accept their degree, and walk into their dream job that they’ll stay at until retirement. Job-hopping has become more of the norm in recent years, with the fluctuations in our economy and job market. While our first job after college most likely won’t be ideal forever, it offers countless learning and growth opportunities.
Here are 3 things you’ll gain from your first job after college:
1) Real-World Experience
Your first job allows you to show how you apply the skills you learned in college in the real world, putting your education into practice. Learning how to adapt what you know to the specific requirements of your position teaches you how to “grow into” a role. You’ll get the chance to show you’ve mastered hard skills, like computer programming or research, and soft ones, like teamwork and conflict management. It lets you establish a track record of success going forward. It will also give you experience in a hands-on way, building off the skills you bring in.
2) Clarity About Your Future
Almost everyone has parts of their job they love and parts they wish they never had to do again. However, it’s hard to determine what they’ll be before starting to work. Finding out which aspects of your job excite you helps you to shape your career path. Your first job also teaches you which skills you’ll need to hone in on to move towards accomplishing your professional goals. By watching the career paths of those around you and identifying which ones would be best, you can gain clarity on what skills and experience to acquire and what career decisions to make.
3) Grow and Learn from Your Network
One of the best ways to learn how to advance in your career is to learn from the people around you. This is possible when you have connections with others in your field. Your first job is not only an opportunity to learn about the industry, practice skills, and gain experience but also to meet folks who can teach you more about the industry. Take networking seriously and foster genuine connections with people who are on your desired path. Once they see your hard work in practice, they may also help you find future opportunities.
Even if your first job out of college isn’t exactly what you imagined for your career, it’s important to make the most out of the experience. Not only can you prove your skills and gain experience and connections, you can learn more about yourself, your career desires, and how to reach them.
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