A student that I work with, reached out to me about a class assignment. She said she had to contact people that she admires for career advice after graduation. This is my email to her:
Here's a list of 10 things are important to keep in mind after you graduate and start your career:
1. Don't get discouraged if you receive a rejection email about a job. It happens, but you have to keep pushing.
2. Don't stop looking for a job. Even when you find a job you like, always be open to better opportunities.
3. When people gossip at work, don't join them. You may think someone is your friend, but you just work together. You can't trust everyone.
4. Always do extra work. If someone needs to come in early, stay late, volunteer, do it if you can. That way when something comes up and you absolutely can't, it doesn't look as bad.
5. Dress to impress. You can never be overdressed or overeducated. Your coworkers may come in looking like they’re going to Walmart, but you go in and work it! Make them want to dress better and look like you.
6. If your goal is to be promoted at your job, and it doesn't happen within 2 to 3 years, start looking for another one. Keep the next level in mind but if they give it to someone else, that means you have to work harder and move on to something greater.
7. Don't stress yourself out over a job. If it's affecting you mentally, take extra time to focus on self-care and ways to deal. And also, job search. As soon as you leave a job, they're just going to post the opening on the career page. Don't give them too much of your energy to the point that it drains you.
8. Take your vacation and sick time! It's there to be used, so use it!
9. Make the effort to take time for yourself. Once you start working 40 hours a week, you'll realize that you see your coworkers more than anyone else. So make time for you, your family, and your friends.
10. Take all the classes, training workshops, and professional development sessions that you can, especially if it's free. It's always good to learn more and if there's a certification involved, you can add that to your resume. Speaking of, make sure that it's always ready to be sent out, and that your LinkedIn page is on point. Business cards are good to have, too.
You got this! I'm always here if you need advice, help with a resume, or a job reference :-)