Guidance for the Clueless Graduate

I was a clueless graduate, unproudly, way back in ‘95. Now, I wasn’t clueless in regards to job opportunity, but clueless in regards to career path. And, generally, what on earth to do after I got my diploma.

Basically – no direction. And no idea.

What I could have really used, back then, were tips on where to start. I wasn’t looking for someone to tell me what to do. Essentially, I was looking for someone to educate me on interesting first steps that could help define my overall career path.

So I thought I’d share some ideas that I tried, and highly considered, to help any other confused upcoming graduates out there:

  • Take Off

    Move somewhere you’d never expect. Live and expose yourself to different people and cultures. Join the Peace Corps. Sign up to work with Kiva abroad. Go serve soup at a cafeteria in Telluride, Colorado. Scrape together some cash and move to NYC.

    A gal I went to high school with joined the Peace Corps. She ended up stationed in Africa, married an Englishman, and is now a resident of Vietnam (how cool is that).

    I moved to NYC, conversely, and the immersion into its amazing culture bathtub changed my perspective on darn near every aspect of my life.

    So (to get back on track), when you’re done, and come back to the real world – if you ever do – you’ll have more direction, and have cool stories to tell potential employers.

  • Work for a Start-Up Business

    Having worked for 3 or so start-up businesses, I can honestly say they’re a great stomping ground for new graduates – even if you have no clue what you truly want to do.

    Since start-ups tend to be small, and somewhat cash-strapped, they *love* recent graduates as employees (cause of their relatively cheap salaries). Recent graduates should love them back, cause start-ups tend expose employees to every job responsibility of an operating business. Meaning, you’ll quickly be able to determine your likes and dislikes in the business world by contributing in every aspect.

    Then, if you get lucky, the start-up goes public and you can bathe in your stock valuation.

  • Volunteer for a Politician

    Politicians love recent grads. And they love putting them to work. And, hey, whaddya know, we’re about to have a Presidential election.

    Jump on board with your favorite candidate, and volunteer to do darn near everything they ask for. In doing that, you’ll forge some strong friendships and business contacts you can list on your resume when you’re job hunting.

    Or, if you bust your hump – and get lucky too, your politician will get elected and hire you into an entry level gig.


One thing, though, that I’ve learned along the way..

When potential employers ask what you what you want to do …. Never answer “I’ll do anything” …

It may come across as bold and eager on your side, but it reeks of insincerity and focus. A better answer is always something along the lines of “Well, my background and passion is in X, but I’m interested in exposing myself to Y & Z”.

Now, enough reading … get out there, and take that first step : )

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>