This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.
ICYMI, Generation Hired recently hosted an amazing webinar presented by Bumble titled What Happens if You Don’t Land Your Dream Job Right Out of School? (Watch the recap below!) As a panelist, I chatted with my colleagues at Her Campus Media about our career journeys, how we landed our current roles, and lessons learned along the way, like the value of networking and fostering authentic connections.
If you’re a recent grad, we’ve got some advice for you. Here are four things to remember when you’re trying to land your dream job after college:
It’s okay if you don’t find a job right away.
Madeleine Bokan, the Manager of Branded Content at HCM, encourages recent grads to stay confident even if things don’t align right after graduation. “I felt a lot of pressure to have a job on graduation day because a lot of my friends did,” Madeleine says. “I remember feeling really devastated, and looking back, I’m mad at myself for feeling that way, because there’s nothing wrong with not having a job right when you graduate!”
“Also, know that your goals aren’t set in stone, and they can be fluid,” says Madeleine, who studied communications and worked in advertising operations and sales before discovering her passion for branded content.
As someone who majored in psychology and foreign languages before landing my dream job in media, I couldn’t agree more with Madeleine’s advice. Work hard and be strategic about your career moves, but know that it’s okay to stay open and flexible at the same time. Keep networking and making new connections in the meantime. The road to your dream opportunity isn’t always linear, and that’s okay. Often, another opportunity is right around the corner.
If you do land your dream job, it’s okay if you realize it’s not ‘the one’.
“Right after college, I thought I had my dream job, and I was wrong!” says Maddie Hiatt, the Social Media Editor at HCM. “It’s okay to think you have a dream job, then get there and realize ‘Wait, just kidding.’” Honestly, relatable. If you’re entering the workforce for the first time, don’t be afraid to try out different roles and responsibilities, even if you’re not 100% sure where you want to be.
Rather than giving up and looking for a new position altogether, Maddie took time to reflect on what she wanted to accomplish professionally, the roles she did and didn’t want, and how she’d get there. “I used that time to focus on who I was going to be in my career, and networked as much as I could,” she said, which eventually led to her dream job in social media.
Making authentic connections is key.
If there’s anything our panelists have learned from navigating the workforce post-graduation, it’s the value of strong connections. Lara Von Lindsowe-Wilson, the Influencer Marketing and Community Manager at HCM, recalls how establishing connections at her first internship was pivotal in helping her secure her first full-time job. “I had a dream networking experience — my bosses at the time really vouched for me,” she says. “At the end of my internship, they offered me my first full time role.”
No matter what industry you’re working in, take time and effort to connect with those around you, especially people whose jobs may be different from your own. Lara reminds attendees, “You never know who you’re going to run into down the road, or what skills you’re going to need in the future. Everything is a learning opportunity and an experience to network!”
Remember, you are more than your work identity.
With ongoing pressure to succeed and most of us working from home nowadays, finding your identity outside of your professional life can feel like a distant dream. However, it’s crucial to maintain a good work-life balance to avoid burnout, especially if you’re a recent graduate.
Lara remembers battling burnout early in her career, and encourages attendees to take a step back. “When I was first getting started, I wanted to put all of my time and energy into this role and prove that I had made it in New York City. It got to the point where I was checking my emails when I was out with friends, and I experienced extreme burnout. Whatever your role is, whatever your title is, it doesn’t define you. Make sure you’re separating so you can have a work-life balance and put your best self into both parts of your life.”
If you’re searching for a post-grad job right now, be sure to keep these tips from our panel in mind. Be proud of all you’ve accomplished, stay confident, and keep making connections! You never know who or what will lead you to your dream opportunity.