"Shoulda, woulda, coulda". We all have moments in our lives that we wish we could do differently, or alter somehow. In the end, though, all we can do is plan for a better future, right? Personally, there are plenty of opportunities I did not take right after college that I wish I had. Now that I'm older, I appreciate the things that I took for granted at the time, things like internships, living at home, and the opportunity to start a side gig. Despite this, I am ultimately grateful for the path I did take. Otherwise I wouldn't be here relaying all my mistakes to 24 Seven readers in hopes they make wiser choices! Trust me, if I knew then what I know now I would have done quite a few things differently like...
#1 Pursued an internship
Once you enter the real world, you will quickly realize that experience is an invaluable quality. Real-life, hands-on experience is what sets you apart from other candidates when applying for a job fresh out of college. The best way to get this experience? Through an internship. As I was going to school to be a teacher, in the back of my mind I thought, 'I'll just graduate with a degree and get a job at Chanel'. Little did I know that getting an internship at a luxury fashion brand is extremely difficult, let alone trying to get hired full-time with no experience! Internships are the best introduction to any industry you may have an interest in. You not only get your first taste of the working world, you also get to learn the ropes of the field you're hoping to get into. You may also realize at this time that what you thought you wanted isn't actually all that great when you're living it. It is so important to learn as much as you can about a company, starting from the bottom all the way to the top, because you gain a greater understanding and appreciation. This knowledge will in turn, help you properly align yourself so you can build your resume to get the dream job you want out of school.
#2 Got a recruiter
A recruiter is something I didn't even know existed until I came to 24 Seven looking for a job! I was under the impression you had to pay a recruiter to help find you a job and as a recent grad I did not have the money for something like that. Now I know it's quite the opposite and recent grads are high in demand at a recruitment agency. As a recent grad or someone about to graduate, your skills are fresh, you're ambitious, and you're ready to take on whatever challenges are thrown at you. Companies strongly take this into consideration when they're hiring, but one might not know that unless you worked with a recruiter.
#3 Learned more about freelancing
Our 2016 Salary Survey reported 22% of Freelancers will increase their rates between 10-20%, we can only imagine what the stats will be next year, (take our 2017 survey today)! Freelancing is the next major wave on the job front and it is a great way to get your foot in the door of any industry right after college. Typically the relationships you form from freelancing will help carry you throughout your career. One of the biggest challenges I found when I was fresh out of college was building the right connections. But if you learn about #2 sooner rather than later, you'll learn recruiters have all the connections you need. In fact, it's their job!
#4 Saved my money
Saving your money is a key component upon entering the "real world" on your own. You need money for living expenses like food, rent, and home necessities. You also need money to fund any side gigs or potentially further your career through online courses. You also need to have money saved in case you don't land a job right out of college. When you start saving money while you're in college, this will set you up for later in life when you start thinking about retirement, starting a family, etc. A saving account will give you a nice emergency cushion to fall back on so you can take the time to figure out where you really want to be rather than rushing to any job that comes your way. It's never too late to change direction or uproot your current career path, even if you're well out of college. The sooner you figure out what direction you want to go, the sooner recruiting companies like 24 Seven can help you get there. Are you a recent grad or in college? If so, check out our job openings today!