Fresh graduate? Here are six key survival tips you wish you knew

So you are lucky enough to have graduated?

The excitement should ordinarily be over by the time you are handing back the ceremonial attire and dressing down to reality.

You just joined a pool of hundreds of thousands that employers have over the years chastised for lacking employable skills.

Now, you might be thinking that besides your hard-earned (or otherwise) degree, your single biggest asset so far will be optimism as you drown into the murky waters of job seeking. Wait, I am getting way ahead of myself.

If you happened to have graduated from one of those rural universities (that shouldn’t exist in the first place), I can assure you the journey will be much more treacherous. That is, if you weren’t pursuing Education.

To get you started, we’ll be generous enough to hook you up with a cheat sheet to survive in the real world.

Don’t go back home

Albert Einstein said education is what remains after one has forgotten what they learned in school. As a fresh graduate, you will need this education to make it through this critical stage of your life.

Going back home is none of your options unless you come from a rich Agricultural county with well-established distribution channel with the right market connections; which we all know is a dream in waiting.

It’s time you actually practiced fending for yourself, forget whatever hassles you had to deal with in college because they just multiplied! All the leverage you had against your parents to deserve stipends is lost, it now belongs to your younger siblings.

And if they can afford to finance your jobless self, you had better not count of that to make a life for yourself.

Be your own man, consolidate all those contacts you’ve made, struggle to pay the bills and fight your way to the top.

Take whatever comes your way

Take it from a woman who struggled to overcome an unhappy childhood, betrayal in marriage and gripping depression to forever change the role of First Lady as we know it today.

United States longest serving First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt’s ‘Do whatever comes your way to do as well as you can’ is a mantra you should get accustomed to after rightfully gaining the alumnus status.

The woman who came to symbolize the independent, politically active woman of the twentieth century you emphasised a key ingredient of self-made achievement ‘you must do the things you think you cannot do’.

Being choosy will not help and equally too, being timid will take you to the dogs. In a world with multi-faceted opportunities in any field, confining yourself to your college major will most definitely see a graduate jobless for much longer than you could have imagined.

Dear graduate, I strongly advise you to ignore American Televangelist’s Joel Osteen’s take on achieving full potential at this point.

“Don’t just accept whatever comes your way in life. You were born to win; you were born for greatness; you were created to be a champion in life,” he says.

This unrealistic approach to life will potentially hurt your much-needed exploration and deny you exposure.

Be ready to work for no pay, take internships in your areas of interest, freelance and just anything that promises an addition to your skill set. It will come in handy when your big break comes.

Have zero expectations

Some say optimism is power, but mostly it just makes you feel better about an oblique future. While it doesn’t help to be pessimistic either, it is important as a fresh graduate to not go into the job marketplace with high expectations.

From my own experience and that of a few friends and colleagues I have interacted with, an overzealous job applicant will suffer most disappointment at rejection and consequently will have his morale impacted.

I say have zero expectations in every job interview, or business pitch you make and you’ll be guaranteed a thicker skin against being turned down and renewed energy to take on a system designed to frustrate.

Over time, you get to know what to focus on as prospective real deals and have the higher chance of predicting outcomes based on rational judgment rather than the whims of a sorry self.

You might never get that dream job

Be alive to the fact that the dream job you think you are ready for might never come.

You are living at a time where corporates are highly restructuring, eliminating redundancies in workforce and hiring multitalented professionals for less pay.

Why would a fresh graduate think you stand a chance?

A quick survey on Twitter last weekend revealed that a majority of Kenyan youth would prefer self-employment to a ‘secure’ corporate job.

It is increasingly becoming more viable to start your own business as employment becomes elusive and affordable financing avenues shape up.

‘Be your own boss’ has never been this alluring before, and a handful brave youth are reaping rosy benefits of what their apprehensive colleagues skimming through a forest of unanswered email ignorantly call ‘a leap of faith’.

While not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship, a fresh graduate with even a remote idea of what’s best for them would do better than let this option go unexplored.

Education doesn’t stop after college

You will soon realize that there’s much more to learn in order to excel in whatever undertaking you take than what college has taught.

In a world led by technology, a raft of skills are increasingly acquiring the ‘sell by’ label making progressive skill building a necessity.

We are talking professional certifications, communication skills, management skills and keeping abreast with emerging issues in areas of interest.

Money management is as important as ever

Whether you are lucky enough to get a job soon after college, venture into business or struggling with intermittent income, how you manage your money will make or break you.

It’s time to know what your real priorities are (write them down if you need to). Do savings and investment mean anything to you? So, what are you doing about it in whatever situation you are in?

You can read more on Personal Finance here.


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