By Jim Wong, CPA | May 17, 2017

“The Future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s graduation season—and many new grads are on the hunt for their first real-world jobs. There are many phases that you go through when you’re about to graduate from a university or college. Besides experiencing nervousness, uncertainty and happiness, there’s also the moment when you stop and ask yourself, “What am I going to do after I graduate?”

Now for most new grads, you’ve been asking yourself this question for a while. It’s been the daunting decision you’ve been toggling back and forth with since you picked your major. Whether you’re going into accounting, finance or information technology, unless you’ve managed to secure a job offer before graduation, not having a position or internship lined up after graduation can cause some anxiety. Rather than let the stress of your impending job search get the best of you, get a handle on the situation and plan your job search process properly.

I recently came across a Forbes article that discusses this topic and because it’s especially fitting this time of year, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject. This is a topic that I’ve written about before, but it bears repeating.

Learn more in the 8 Things Every New Graduate Needs to Know About Their Job Search below.

1. The job search is a marathon, not a sprint. 
Don’t stress about finding your dream job on your first try. Oftentimes, finding a dream job comes as a result of trying out many different roles first. Many employers and veteran job seekers understand that their first position out of school is often a stepping stone that might lead to new interests, stronger connections and valuable learning lessons.

2. Culture matters. 
Pay attention to the energy in the room during an interview and in the office. It’s very important to feel comfortable in the organization. If you’re already picking up on negative energy in an interview, it might be wise to take a step back and evaluate if you want to work there.

3. Cultivate your network. 
Draw on connections made in school, whether with peers, classmates, professors or advisors. These are valuable connections, so it’s a great idea to keep in touch with them. If a professor or mentor has had an especially strong impact, consider sending a personalized note or thank you card after you graduate to acknowledge the mark they’ve made. In the future, these connections might help build bridges to companies, clients or others.

4. Maintain your integrity. 
If a company doesn’t align with your morals and values, it might be wise to steer clear. This is a tough line to navigate, but the writer of this article raises a good point. She says, “No matter how appealing a job opportunity sounds, if the people leading the organization aren’t honest, ethical people, you will not be happy in the job.”

5. The job market is competitive. 
While the job market is certainly better than it once was, as a new grad you should take the time and effort to brand yourself. Setting yourself apart from your peers is not an easy task, but it will prove to be important when it comes to your job search. One way of branding yourself is using social media. This brings me to my next point.

6. Use LinkedIn. 
By now, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The world’s largest professional network is such an important tool when it comes to maintaining a strong network of connections, finding leads to new jobs and staying up to date on information affecting various industries and companies. At the same time, in-person connections made through networking remain important, too. Using LinkedIn as a supplemental tool in a job search is a great thing for new grads to do.

7. Know that your career is yours. 
Remember that you, and only you, are in charge of your career decisions. Allowing outside sources to influence your decisions can be tricky, so stay on track with your goals and desires for your career by checking in periodically to make sure you’re looking for roles that suit your skillsets and long-term goals appropriately. At the end of the day, following through on what you want can be empowering.

8. Try not to compare yourself to your peers. 
It can be easy to compare yourself to others around you, especially those classmates that may have already landed their “dream job” right after graduation. However, new grads (and all job seekers for that matter) should resist the urge to compare themselves with others. Each of you is moving along on your own path and at your own pace. Slow and steady usually wins the race.

These are only a few of the things for new grads to keep in mind during their job search. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.

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