For as long as you can remember, September has meant returning to a place where you do work and get grades. But this year, graduation means that job hunting is on the agenda. This September, if all goes well, you'll be getting a paycheque instead of a B+. It sounds simple enough, but this transition is one of the biggest you'll face in your life. It will take time to adjust, so don't be too hard on yourself.
What job should I start with?
If you're not sure what you're looking for yet, take a look online for career planning and assessment tools. These tools will help you discover your interests, which are key to a rewarding career match.
Where are the jobs?
The two most popular job-finding websites in Canada are Monster and Workopolis. Both sites are tremendous resources for every aspect of finding a job. You can browse listings in your field and related fields, set up an online resumé, learn interviewing skills, read helpful articles for recent graduates and sign up for alerts when a job comes up that matches your skills.
And don't forget the career centre at your school. They usually have job boards, resumé seminars and connections to career fairs. If you didn't use the career centre during school, you should start now. Most students have access to their school's resources, in person and online, for up to a year after graduation. It's free, and made just for you.
Networking is another operative word in job searching. It's not as strategic as it sounds - it just means talking to people. Tell your neighbours, family friends, acquaintances and anyone else you come across that you're looking for a job. What you say depends on what you want. If you want to get into media and your uncle works at a magazine, set up some time to get together and chat. It really works. People, especially those close to you, want to help and they'll think of you when an opportunity comes up. They can also offer you valuable insights.
Don't want to start working yet?
If you find yourself with a little bit of freedom or are looking into alternatives to hunkering down at a job right away, there are indeed options. It will depend on your priorities, financial situation and state of mind.
Enrol in a postgraduate program: There are college programs for university graduates that range from ten months to more than two years in almost every practical subject area you can think of. If you've just graduated with a degree and you're not sure how to apply it, a postgrad program can help you get into the workforce. Many programs include a co-op placement, which can be a helpful boost.
Travel: Today, anything goes; Australia, Asia, India, Europe, the Mediterranean and more. The post-graduate travel blitz is famous for a reason: it works. There is no better way to experience a bit of the world and learn a lot about yourself while you're at it.
Volunteer: Volunteering is a rewarding way to find out what you enjoy doing in the working world. Volunteering Opportunities Exchange lists new volunteer opportunities daily. There are opportunities to write, lead seminars, work with children and so much more.
Find your own priorities
Do what you feel is important to you. Now that you've finished school, your decisions can begin to reflect your own life directions. It's not easy to be carefree when you have student loans, but you can prioritize your goals.