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Qualification? Complete. Graduation gown? Purchased. Excitement? Through the roof.  Knowing that you have finally bagged the bragging rights to say you are a university or college graduate and that you don’t have to sit through another 3-hour exam is probably one of the most exhilarating feelings you will experience in your lifetime. Your hard work has paid off. Now comes more work; securing and maintaining a stable job. And it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are certain challenges and obstacles that university won’t really prepare you for. You are sort of thrust into the working industry a qualification in hand and a heart full of dreams and ambitions without being briefed regarding the realities that come with trying to get your foot in the door. Here are 3 things lecturers don’t tell you about starting your career. 

INTIMIDATING INTERVIEWS

You probably won’t just sit through one interview and get awarded the job. You will go through a couple of interviews – and they won’t necessarily always be positive. Companies are looking to hire the best from the graduate pool so some of those HR Executives will grill you properly. Be as prepared as you can for your job interviews. Do your research on the organisation you have applied for; their company values and ethos and how you meet their criteria for the available position. Also, be clear on what your long term goals are – that question always seems to work its way in.

STARTING FROM THE BOTTOM

To build a successful career, you need to get the basics and the foundation right; and that means being prepared to start from the bottom and work your way up the rungs of the ladder. You graduated top of your class and now you have to start from the bottom? Yes! That’s the best way to learn the ropes of your industry. It’s probably the one time in your career where you will never have to feel guilty for asking all sorts of questions and where mistakes won’t be as heavily scrutinised. Take advantage of it; allow your mind to be like a sponge and absorb all the knowledge you can. 

BRINGING YOUR A++ GAME

Bring not just your A-game but your A++ game. You’re the new kid on the block and your colleagues are probably paying that much more attention to what you have to bring to the table, your attitude, and how you fit into the company culture. Again, be prepared and organised. Simple but sometimes overlooked things like diarising meetings, being prompt, and having a pen and notebook assist you in being that much more organised. It takes something like forgetting that you’re invited to a brainstorming session or not bringing a pen to a client meeting for you to be considered unorganised. 

It gets real once you get your qualification but also rewarding. You are finally putting your knowledge into play and getting paid for it. Starting your career is daunting and exciting. Make the most out of it, learn and be open to new things!

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