Four career moves new grads need to know

Four career moves new grads need to know … from those who have been there!

Whether you have been in your new job for a few months now, your job search is underway or you’re still trying to figure out what’s next, the right time to be thoughtful and strategic about making a strong start in your career is now!

Not sure where to start? Western’s Alumni Career Management is here to help, and we asked a few of our notable alumni to chime in too! Here’s what they have to say:

Get connected. Whether you’ve landed your first job or are still on the hunt, it’s important to connect with professionals within your area of interest. “Seek out professionals that you would want to work for,” advises lawyer and professional engineer Natalie Raffoul, BESc’01, of Clancy P.C. + Brion Raffoul. “Be persistent and follow up with employers or colleagues that don’t get back to you right away; some people appreciate persistence.”

Adopt a lifelong learning orientation. While university provided you with a solid foundation, the reality is that you are probably going to start off in an entry-level role. You won’t know everything when you start off, and that’s okay. Once you start working, you will gain clarity about what skills you need to acquire, and what you like. Take the opportunity to interact with and learn from people above you, even if it means doing more “junior tasks.” This will allow you to build your brand as a professional and increase your level of exposure to work outside your role.

Be dynamic. Your future career success doesn’t completely depend on your current role. Mark Millar, BSc’04, suggests keeping at least two noteworthy jobs, volunteer engagements, or other activities on the go. “This approach will help you build and diversify your network and continue to grow personally. You will be surprised by the opportunities that are cultivated as a result.”

Brand yourself. Your personal brand is a unique promise of value based on authenticity and distinguishes you from your peers. (Think “innovation” for Apple and “safety” for Volvo.) “Commit to delivering your brand with everything you do because it will follow you,” says Millar. 

To this end, keep perspective. Your task is not to figure out where your career will end, but simply where it should begin.

Western’s commitment to your success doesn’t end at graduation. Within 12 months of graduation, you have full access to career supports in person, by phone or online at The Student Success Centre. For further career support, resources and opportunities to connect with alumni, check out Western Alumni Career Management.