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10 Things You Should Know About Your First Few Jobs.

Remember as a kid, you had clear-cut career choices like you had seen future you in a crystal ball. Sharp responses like Engineer, Doctor or Astronaut were quick to slip off your tongue; but as you grew older, attended classes, got exposed to different courses and professionals, your perception of an ideal job changed. You had more options to select from and you even considered trying something completely different.

Fast forward to today, you have a certificate to your name and a list of companies you’d like to work with. You are probably wondering what to expect from your first few jobs and you need some help around the job market now that you are getting a taste of the real world.  So here are 10 things from Lindsay Olson you didn’t learn in school.

1. You’re not limited to jobs in the field you got your degree in. If you have a degree in journalism, you might assume that means your only option is becoming a journalist. But armed with great communications skills, you could also qualify for jobs in PR, marketing, or business administration. It’s all how you play your cards and where you get your experience.

2. Your degree isn’t always that important to employers. Despite what you’d like to believe, some employers won’t care where you went to school, or even what you earned your degree in. They’ll focus instead on your skills: whether or not you seem trainable enough for the job you’ve applied for. They’ll also look at experience. You’ll have the hardest time in regards to experience just out of school, as you won’t yet have much detail on your CV. Focus on getting internships and volunteer positions to round out the experience employers will be looking for.

3. Some employers won’t even require you to have a degree. Google has set the pace and more companies will catch the fire. In the end, getting a job will be dependent on whether you can do the job or not. This can be an eye-opener to anyone who’s spent four-plus years earning a degree, but again, employers look for experience and trainability. And while having a degree does display your ability to be taught, it’s not the only path to a professional career.

4. There are jobs you’ve never even heard of in your field. Like many graduates, you probably received a brochure listing all the amazing careers you could consider in your field. But there are often many more beyond that list. If you have a degree in English, you’ve likely already considered the obvious option of teaching or writing, but publishing, proofreading, speech-writing, or becoming a copy-editor might have not crossed your mind.

5. Grades don’t matter. Ok they do because somehow, employers need a way to screen out thousands of applicants for a job but it is highly unlikely an employer will ask for your grades if he thinks you are the solution to his problem unless there’s a HR policy that requires that. This is not to dissuade current university students from trying their hardest, but the fact is: employers don’t care about grades. If you are an expert in a particular field and you have the experience and accolades to prove it, consider yourself hot cake.

6. School does have a link to the corporate world. Make the most out of your alumni network and see what opportunities there are for you professionally. Speak to professors in your department about what they’d recommend for you career-wise. And network like crazy, trust me, it helps.

7. Some degrees pay better than others. And liberal arts degrees aren’t at the top of the list. Biomedical engineering, math, and science; however, are something to consider when planning the massive amounts of money you’ll make … with your philosophy degree.

8. School does not prepare you for a job. Nothing but job experience can do that. And, of course, you need job experience to get a job. It’s a vicious cycle to which you’ve got to find your own solution.

9. Employers don’t want to train you to do a job. That’s why they’re more likely to hire people not fresh out of school. Do yourself a favour and take on an internship or two during school days or just before you are done with your compulsory Service year, so that you’d have already gone through the experience of being in a work environment and have some experiences to help guide you. Thanks to the internet, you can try freelance jobs to gain some level of experience and expertise. This will make you more hireable.

10. It’s okay to change your mind. Many graduates start working in their field of choice only to find out it wasn’t what they expected when they were cracking the books on the subject. It’s okay (see no. 1). You don’t necessarily need to start over and get another degree; just open your mind to other career options your degree might make you eligible for.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell