Kaila Sutherland knows that the new graduate struggle can be real! She shares what she learned (and what she wish she'd known) when she finished university.
Most of us have experienced times in our lives where we wished we had a time machine. For me, one of those times was when I finished university.
Knowing what I know now, I have some advice for new graduates.
Lesson 1: Consider your industry
Throughout university, I carefully considered the title of my dream role and what kind of work I would be doing. However, I'd never thought about the industry I'd like to work in; only later did I realise why it's important.
Firstly, the industry you're in can have a significant impact on the nature of your role. For example, it can determine bureaucracy, employee benefits, position stability, and future career pathways. Secondly, it can impact your future employment prospects in other industries, with some employers seeking out industry-specific experience. Next time you browse SEEK, notice how many times you see 'industry experience preferred' or 'experience working in a similar environment' in job advertisements.
Lesson 2: Rejection is normal
No one likes rejection. When I was applying for graduate positions, there were so many times I was told I was unsuccessful. Sometimes, I didn't hear back at all. It can be disheartening!
Now having worked on the other side of the recruitment fence, I've realised that rejection is very normal; most jobs attract over 100 candidates! Instead of dwelling on the disheartening news, I encourage you to stay optimistic as that new opportunity is just around the corner.
Lesson 3: It's not what you know, it's how much you care
When I started my first role after university, I was determined to impress. I wanted to solve any problem, answer any question, and appear to know what I was talking about at all times. It's unnecessary pressure to put on yourself and also incredibly unrealistic!
Instead, consider embracing this advice I heard from a colleague: "People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care." If you are like me and put this advice into practice, you will notice that people will not only be more patient, but you'll also come across more authentic.
Armed with these three lessons, I wish you all the best in your transition from university to the real world. Enjoy!
More about Kaila
Kaila graduated from QUT in 2018 with a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management). She now works as a Learning and Capability Advisor at Stanwell Corporation Limited. Connect with Kaila on LinkedIn.