The job market is presented as a cutthroat place for fresh graduates. Fortunately, that isn’t really the case – there is competition, but ultimately everyone’s journey and destination are unique to them, and with experience will come wisdom on navigating the top pockets of opportunity.
The best advice for graduates is to forge your own path but adopt certain techniques like networking that significantly increase your chances of success. Our guide will train you in those best practices as you start the transition into full-time employment.
#1: Learn how to showcase your skills and experience
Entering the job market may feel like being thrown into the deep end, but the key to navigating this stage is to draw on the experience of those who have been through it.
RMIT’s Job Shop should be your first stop on your professional journey. Our staff is equipped to provide guidance and advice for current students and recent graduates on how to craft a CV and cover letter that’s reflective of your key skills and traits.
That’s not all. At the Job Shop, you can access one-on-one career consultations to help you better plan your future and apply for the best possible roles. The Job Shop also regularly hosts industry events, networking sessions and professional services, such as headshot sessions where you can snap that perfect LinkedIn profile image.
#2: Embrace lifelong learning
This isn’t just good advice for graduates, but for professionals of all levels. As you gain experience and spend time exploring the possibilities of your career, you will inevitably find growth opportunities.
These could include a more senior role, a new type of career that didn’t exist before, or a new passion you’ve discovered. Some of these opportunities may require skills or a certain experience level that you may not have yet. Lifelong learning is about being in tune with these changes, and taking the steps to fill the knowledge gaps so you can benefit personally and professionally.
RMIT offers a range of online short courses that you can complete flexibly while working. There’s even a 15% discount for RMIT alumni!
#3: Don’t be afraid of paperwork
As you adjust to full-time work, you may find yourself dreading administrative obligations that will come up in your personal and professional life. Perhaps you find expense reports daunting or the thought of tax time is a source of confusion and anxiety.
Don’t fret: there is no escaping tax time, but with a little bit of planning, it can be a smooth, convenient process.
In a post-COVID world, your home utility expenses could be eligible for working from home allowances, or that RMIT course you undertook for work could be claimed on tax. Holding onto all your tax invoices is the best way to take advantage of those benefits and meet your tax obligations.
#4: Understand the necessity of networking
It's a common but critical piece advice for graduates of all levels: build your network. Every career requires the support and mentorship of a strong professional network.
Unsure where to start? RMIT’s LinkedIn group for alumni is a great way to connect with your peers, stay in touch, learn about exciting new opportunities, and learn and grow together.
If mentorship from industry veterans is what you are looking for, RMIT has you covered again. The Career Mentoring program connects current students and recent graduates with industry professionals. You’ll be inspired to grow in your field while developing the crucial skills to become a well-rounded professional, and hopefully even a future industry leader!
#5: Master the work-life balance
Those first few years of full-time work can be exhilarating. Achieving goals, solving problems, being rewarded for your dedication and earning the admiration of your colleagues can motivate you. On the flip side, you might feel extra pressure to impress or ‘prove yourself’, which can result in working at an unsustainable pace.
This isn’t just advice for graduates but applies to everyone: learn to balance all aspects of your life. If you find yourself pushing to work more than necessary, take a step back and establish boundaries by asking your manager for help reprioritising your work. Plan work in a way that you get weekends and some daily time to indulge in hobbies and other social activities.
In the long run, the success of your career will depend heavily on how well you succeeded at the balancing act: working hard and enjoying life just as much. Don’t forget to enjoy this journey you are embarking on!
Story: Hassaan Ahmed