10 Career Advice Tips for Recent College Grads

In 2014 21,000,000 students graduated from college. That number is increasing every year. More and more students are eager to work that have college degrees and there is more competition every year.

Are you looking for a little job advice for recent graduates?

If you experience any of these fears:

  • You’re eager to put your new college degree to use but don’t have your perfect job lined up.
  • You’re worried that you may have a lack of experience.
  • You’re unsure of what industry you should be in.
  • You’ve never been interviewed and aren’t sure how to prepare.

Do not worry. Everyone worries about this situation after graduation, and I have some career advice for you.

Here are 10 business tips for recent college graduates that will help you choose a career path that is right for you, and land that job out of college that you really want.

1) Don’t Let the World Decide Your Path


Sit down and make a list and a plan of your ideal situation. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of work that you really enjoy doing?
  • If you weren’t getting paid what kind of work would you enjoy doing?
  • What activities in your past have been responsible for your success?

Making a plan will help put you on the right path to getting a great job.

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2) Informational Interviewing

Before an interview, do research on the company and overall industry you are interviewing for. When you have your interview, you will be able to tell the interviewer about the industry and ask questions such as:

“Where do you see this industry going in the next 3 to 5 years?”

The more questions you ask, and the more you control the interview.

Don’t think of the interview as applying for a job. Think of it as doing an investigation to see if the company or even the industry is right for you. Sometimes you will find that you don’t care for either. What you really want from a first interview is information.

This information includes:

  • Information on what you will be doing.
  • Information on the company and company culture.
  • Information on the industry and the industries main competitors.

Research the Company Fully Before Your Interview 

When you have an interview you must do extensive research on a company. For a one-hour interview, you should do 3 hours of research into the company.

When your do research for your interview, look at these things:

  • Who will be interviewing you?
  • The company’s website.
  • The industry the company is in.
  • It’s main competitors.
  • The products they sell.
  • The company culture.

Find out as much as you possibly can about the company before your interview. You will be able to ask pertinent questions about the business, the industry and the people and get much more out of the initial interview.

3) Choose Your Boss With Care

Make sure that you are comfortable with and like your boss. Your boss will have an influence on your pleasure, enjoyment and success in your career more than anyone else.

4) Ask For More Responsibilities

When you finish a task at your new job, don’t sit on your hands and wait for someone to give you a new task. Ask for more responsibility.

What happens when you ask for more responsibility:

  • Your boss grows to trust that if there is a job that needs to be done you can do it.
  • The more responsibility you ask for, the more you will be rewarded.

Here is a video that recaps my first 4 points, as well as tells a story about how asking for more responsibility, broke my career wide open.

5) Choose Something You Love Over Money

This is a time where you are able to really get to know yourself and find what you love to do.

This may be a hard thing to think about in the short run, especially if finding a job is hard.

But think about this:

Would you rather end up in a career that you hate or be doing something that you truly love for the rest of your life?

Here is a great infographic from The Undercover Recruiter on choosing a career that is right for you.


6) Check These Career Websites for Leads on Getting a Job in Your Field


There are hundreds of career websites that you can use to look for jobs. I’ve included a few here:

You can read more in this Forbes blog article “The 10 Best Websites for Your Career.”

7) Your Education Never Ends

Don’t worry, this is a good thing . . .

You will always be learning new things, reading new books and developing yourself to be the very best version of you. You will be trained in new facets of a position and gain expertise and knowledge.

Be open to this change.

8) Use Social Media for Networking

There are always opportunities to network:

Social media websites such as LinkedIn make it easier that before to get in touch with professionals in your field. Many companies who are hiring actively seek out young professionals on LinkedIn. Ensure that you have an updated resume and skills list posted on your profile.

Use Facebook to network with your peers from college. Perhaps they also know someone in an industry you would like to work in.

9) What Microsoft, Hulu and Julep Executives Have to Say

“The ability to learn quickly and adapt quickly is critical no matter what role you’re going in for.” –Julie Green, VP of Digital at Julep

A panel of tech executives at Western University’s Leadership forum discussed career advice for recent grads. Read more about what they said from this blog here.

10) Stay Positive

Always think positively.

Remember these two tips for when you interview:

  1. Your interview starts in the parking lot.
  2. Your interview ends when you leave the building.

Even if you are having trouble in the interview process, always keep a positive outlook.

Preparation, experience, and a positive attitude will eventually lead you to the perfect job for you.

Thank you for reading this blog on job advice for recent graduates. If you have any great advice please share it in the comments below.

Need Help Setting Up Personal Goals?

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

  • Ricky

    1. Think of your career as a series of experiences. The most optimistic and intelligent way to look at your career isn’t how long you stay with one employer or that you focus on what you majored in at college. You need to collect experiences throughout your careers, whether that be with five employers or ten, with one business function or five or in one country or three. The idea is that you need to be a lifelong learner if you want to make an impact, succeed and feel accomplished. The experiences you have expand your world view, give you new perspectives and make you a more interesting person.

    2. Don’t settle for a job you’re not passionate about. A lot of people are pushing college graduates to just get a job to pay the bills and that isn’t the greatest advice because research shows that you won’t last long there if you do. Furthermore, no smart company is going to have someone who is only there to make money because there’s always someone else who wants it more. When you’re passionate about your job, you’re excited, you work longer hours and end up accomplishing much more. Life is too short to settle for a career that you hate!

    3. Focus on making a big impact immediately. The quicker you make an impact in a company the more attention and support you will get. Millennials understand this well because they won’t want to wait five years to get on a project where they can make this type of impact. Starting on day one, you have to learn as much as possible and start mastering your job so you can latch on to the bigger projects faster and prove yourself. By doing this, you will explode your career and become more valuable in your company, which will increase your pay, title and you’ll get to work on better projects.

    4. Take risks early and often in your career. One of the important lessons this economy has taught us is that not taking risks is risky. There is so much out of our control and if we just keep doing what we did yesterday, we can’t get ahead. By taking a risk, you are putting yourself in a position to learn, whether you succeed or fail. You’re also showing to your management that you’re willing to put your reputation on the line to make things happen. As we become an ever more entrepreneurial society, those that take risks, both inside and outside of the corporate walls, will become more successful.

    5. Spend more time with people than with your laptop. Students are plugged in and don’t understand that he strongest relationship are formed in person, not online. I constantly see students looking down at their iPhones and iPad’s instead of at people’s faces and it’s a missed opportunity. Soft skills will always become more cherished in companies so it’s important to drop your technology and actually communicate with people. People hire you, not technology and you have to remember that!

    6. Measure your work outcomes and build case studies. If you look at any student resume, they almost always look the same. They have the same fields (education, experience, school activities). Under their experience fields, they list a company and then general information such as “Managed XXX project”. They dress up their experience bullets so they can turn menial tasks into something more marketable. The problem is that recruiters today, and especially in the future, are looking for outcomes. They want to know the numeric impact you’re having on a company through your work, which means increasing revenue or decreasing costs. Always think about measuring your projects and keeping track of the results because that’s what’s going to help you justify promotions.

    7. Sacrifice today to position yourself for tomorrow. You can’t have everything you want today so you need to work hard to put yourself in a better position in the future. From 2007 to 2009, I put in over one hundred hours a week working on something I loved. As a result, now I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want. While others would have used that same time to go out every night and party, I realized the bigger picture and you can too. The more you do early in your career, the more it will pay off later in life and you will be thankful just like I am.

    8. Start your own website to centralize your work profile. You need a single place where you can store everything you accomplish and that should be a website under your name (yourfullname.com). By doing this, you can easily refer others to your work, whether it be hiring managers or for freelance projects. As you grow and develop your career, add new projects, education, skills and examples of your work to your website. Your website is a living, breathing resume that is always available to people even when you’re asleep.

    9. Travel as much as you can, while learning about cultures and languages. We live in a global marketplace now and companies are looking to expand and hire the best talent, regardless of location. The more you travel and experience the world, the better you will be at serving this marketplace and taking advantage of it. Furthermore, if you’re learning new languages, you are ahead of the curve. It’s hard for companies to find workers who are fluent in languages so if that’s you, you become more marketable.

    10. Locate mentors who live your desired lifestyle. Most students aren’t selective about mentors and just feel fortunate to have them in the first place. I believe you need to choose the right mentor, who you can support and who has time to support you. That person should be someone in your industry who is living the lifestyle that you dream of. This way, they can tell you exactly what you need to do each day to get to their level. For instance, if you want to travel and do consulting in the future then find someone who has a job at McKinsey or Accenture to mentor you. Based on your meetings with them, you might even decide that the consulting lifestyle isn’t a good match for you after all.

  • Thanks, Brian. These tips are spot on. As a career coach, I encourage clients to follow their passion. The problem many graduates face is that they don’t know what their passion is. A professionally trained coach will help you to connect with your passion and land a position fits your values, interests, knowledge and skills.

  • Ray Holder

    I agree that researching a company before you apply is a very helpful practice. I recently read another blog that supports this (www.porterchester.com/news-events/5-keys-to-career-planning-for-success). Your interview style, your cover letter and even resume can be customized to specific aesthetics that each company value the most.

  • Pongrat Ioan

    I thanks so much sir Brian Tracy

  • Thanks much Brian for your powerful post. These are indeed proven success ideas that help everyone to find a job in our highly competitive society. Today, we play the worldwide game, and we should commit ourselves to becomes excellent in order to thrive.

  • Thx! very useful for tertiary students

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