Oh, the Things I Wish I Would Have Known…

gen YUpon preparing to enter the “real world” after graduation from college, I was somewhat surprised at how different the job search world was from what I had imagined it would be like. Although there will inevitably be some hiccups and surprises along the way, hopefully you’ll be able to learn from this common list of things that can often times surprise people when they enter the working world:

  1. It’s about what you can do. It’s not about your GPA. In the beginning of my college career, I made the mistake of focusing too much on my grades. Don’t get me wrong. Being able to report a high GPA on your resume does say something about your work ethic and drive to succeed. However, don’t expect a good GPA to act as a free pass that can get you any job you desire. If you have a 4.0 GPA but none of the qualifications and skills needed to successfully do a job, then other candidates with lower GPAs and a whole slew of qualifications will probably be hired before you.
  2. Your major actually does matter… I don’t know how many times I was told that I should major in the area of the classes I most enjoy taking because, once you enter the real world, your major doesn’t matter. This, however, I’ve found to be false. When you first enter the work force, you probably will not have yet had a full-time professional job. Because of this, employers often default to looking at your education. After all, it is logical that a student that graduated from a business school would be easier to train into a marketing position than a student that graduated with a dance major.
  3. …unless you have relevant experience. The significance of your major is lessened if you have had relevant prior experience that would make you successful for the position. Such experiences could be volunteer work, internships, or self-sought projects. These experiences give you the direct hands-on learning opportunities that teach you how to do the tasks that you’ll need to master in order to be successful in a full-time job. So perhaps instead of working so hard to get that 4.0 GPA, try to secure an internship.

The job search world can be quite nerve-wracking to take on. However, being prepared and knowing what to expect can really help you in navigating your way through. If you have any other “things you wish you would have known,” please comment below!

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