Four Tips for 2021 Graduates

So, you might have just recently finished your courses and are waiting for that prestigious piece of paper that shows you’ve worked hard to get where you are academically.  However, graduating during the pandemic is also scary.  As the 2020 graduates can relate to, the pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives from personal to academic to professional.  Entering the working world can be intimidating in and of itself, but, with the layered burden of the new working from home (WFH) environment to the larger macroeconomic changes, it’s no wonder that many 2021 graduates are concerned.  AU graduates may be better equipped to handle a lot of these stressors, however what are some tips to help put you in the right mindset while you prepare for the start of your professional career.

Be Flexible to Change

Even prior to the COVID pandemic, a fresh graduate can find it intimidating to navigate their own career path.  Without a laid-out curriculum for life, we might fear the uncertainty that comes with the working world.  However, in the current climate, it becomes even more important to put aside traditional ideas of work.  Sometimes, the work we envisioned might not look the same post-pandemic.  Our education helps set a foundation for the transferable skills we’ll need, such as time-management, written and verbal communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking that can be used in any job, anywhere.

Never Stop Learning

One of my favorite things about AU is the ability to take your learning anywhere.  Many AU students have been working for years before upgrading their credentials or picking up a new set of skills from pure interest.  Learning doesn’t just apply to formal education but can be through educational Youtube videos or even taking a course online.  The post-pandemic era might require different skills than the ones we’re used to.  For example, a new addition to many firms’ departments is a digital marketing and media roles that have ramped up during the lockdown.

Don’t Underestimate Yourself

One of the challenges new graduates face is the confidence to make firm decisions and to “prove our value” to the hiring firm.  Perhaps the label of “junior associate” or “entry-level position” has affected our self-esteem or discouraged our assertiveness.  However, never doubt that you can’t provide value or be an important force in the firm you work for, even as a new graduate.  Take the opportunity to speak up and advocate for yourself if you feel underrepresented or that your opinions are being glossed over.  Practicing self-assertiveness in the workplace means looking after yourself and your own interests.

Find the Right People to Coach You

In the academic environment, it’s easy to find a professor, mentor, or peer to bounce ideas off.  As a new graduate, we might not always have the right support mechanisms to help us reach out goals.  Moreover, whose advice can we trust and who has our best interests at heart? One way to help improve your own networks and grow professionally is to find someone, be it a senior colleague, a boss, a trusted friend or a professional you found on LinkedIn to help answer your questions.  Getting advice is important.  But getting advice from the right people is even more so.

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