Congratulations, Class of 2021! Whether you finished school on-campus, remotely or hybrid, the end result is you did it! You achieved a monumental milestone and now the future is yours. You may wonder, what now? Should you join the workforce? Pursue higher learning? Well, if you’re looking to join the workforce, we recommend these tips to help you succeed1:
- Identify the key soft skills (power skills) you have and need. Examples include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and learning agility. Learning agility is your most important skill, because it means you have the curiosity and motivation to continuously learn new skills throughout your career.
- Consider core technical skills you have that are likely to stay in high demand, such as digital literacy, data science and data analytics. And then build upon those skills.
- Focus on skills that are portable and that will be critical regardless of what field you enter. For example, the data analytics skills you developed in your marketing job may be just as valuable — or even more valuable — in e-commerce or product development.
- Keep a permanent, personal list of past and future learning. This will help you have better conversations about your skills in interviews and on the job.
- Discover, filter and apply your learning. Utilize low or no-cost technology. You can also use Twitter Lists for streams of topic-specific material from those you choose to follow and platforms like YouTube have many relevant talks and interviews.
Some new grads may find joining the workforce right away to be bad timing, too intimidating or be looking for an advantage to find their perfect position. For these reasons and more, higher education can be a worthwhile option. Here’s what you’ll need to excel2:
- Be an effective planner and initiative taker. You’ll need to be mentally ready for the marathon of graduate studies.
- Have the maturity to rebound from disappointments. Graduate school is a whole different ballgame than college.
- Build up your stamina to complete long projects on your own, without much interaction or (potentially) direction.
- Do specific research on job placement for the programs you’re considering. It’s a competitive market out there!
- Finances matter. You’ll need to weigh the cost of graduate school against your future earning potential, and then figure out how much you can afford to spend on your degree.
Remember, no matter what you choose, this is an exciting time in your life—enjoy it!