How to Plan Your Career if You’ve Just Graduated

In a previous article, we discussed some of the key factors in planning your career. It’s a tough topic, even for industry veterans. This week however, we are looking specifically at the factors that influence a graduate’s job search. When you are fresh out of university, college or even school everyone loves to repeat that old adage, ‘the world is your oyster’. That’s supposed to be comforting but it is, in fact, quite the opposite, so we thought we’d give you a few tips on how to plan your career in you’ve just graduated.

Good Things Take Time

Firstly, oysters a more complex than we are willing to admit. These little molluscs have an irregular shape and can live for up to 20 years in captivity. The most important factor however, is that your run of the mill oyster will not just pop open and present you with a shiny pearl. You have to work for that pearl, you need to earn your stripes and say a bit of, ‘yes, boss’, ‘no boss’. Your first job will not be glamorous. You won’t be managing greenfield projects from the start, that’s the first thing you need to prepare yourself for.

Is That Oyster Fit for Human Consumption?

What is also misleading about this, ‘the world is your oyster’ phrase is that some oysters are just plain vrot and you won’t know it until you pop that little bastard open. Think of it this way though, if it smells funny, don’t eat it. If you’re starving you need to take a long hard look at that oyster and weigh up your options. Will the consumption thereof kill you are just leave you feeling a bit green around the gills? Sometimes eating a vrot oyster is the least of your worries and you really need to just take a stab at that job even though you aren’t 100% certain about it. Graduates don’t always get to choose their first jobs if there’s nothing else on offer and you cannot hold out; take the job. Suffer through it and learn as much as you can.

Picking The Right Oyster

Picture this; you graduated cum laude and you get to choose between a few oysters. You’re lucky don’t take it for granted. Give all of those oysters a good sniff, shake and a thorough examination. Your natural instinct when you have the choice between a few jobs is to choose the job which is offering the highest salary. It’s not wrong to choose the highest paying job either but what are the long-term ramifications? If you decide to work at a small dev shop which offers a very specific range of services – you may not learn as much as you want. If you choose to work for a big corporate you are unlikely to earn that winning salary at first but you are more likely to get some great experience and learn a lot more than you might have otherwise. Take it slowly, choose carefully.

Never Stop Learning

So you’ve landed your cool new job what now? Don’t stop, that’s all; just don’t stop learning. Keep coding in your spare time, keep taking on more courses, certificates and even maybe some freelance work. The more you have to show, the more desirable you are to a future employer. If you sit on your laurels staring at that on prize oyster, you may find that that particular oyster gets a bit stale and too small to even fit a small pearl into. Keep going!

Get Some Goals

If you don’t have a clue where you’re going or what you’re doing, no one else can help you decide. You need to set some goals and work towards them. Even if you change your mind entirely once you’ve reached those goals, you now know more and you are better able to create and reach even better goals which may serve you better in the future.

Oh ya, we forgot to say well done on graduating! Getting certified is tough but you’ve accomplished something pretty great. As for the rest of the journey (which is even tougher by comparison); you are entirely alone. If you wait for a mentor who will take more interest in your career than you, you’re going nowhere. Pick up that oyster and run with it!

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