Dear university student and soon to be graduate,
Here is a dose of reality: unless your parents have connected friends you aren’t going to find a job you love right away.
You may think you have it going on and you may have lots of talent, but there is a long road ahead. It is this very road that will shape you into the hustler that you will need to be to lock down that dream job. Academia does not teach you the value of day to day interactions- interactions that could either build your career or shoot it dead in its tracks. Academia doesn’t teach you to hustle, life does.
Here are three tips that will save your life, your career and your pride.
You may be a rockstar but no one outside of the academic bubble knows this. Frankly, they don’t care what you studied or what professors you worked with, it’s all meaningless outside of university.
Think of it as moving to another country. When you move to another country or travel to a different city, no one knows who you are or cares to. The only thing you have are manners, polite warm interactions that will help you make your way in an unknown place.
You would never walk into a new town and act like a know-it-all, barking comments and ignoring people. Being new means you need to prove yourself, and a little goes a long way.
So be polite, smile and build your reputation with every interaction.
Of course you can write! You have probably written 1000 term papers, but again no one cares that you wrote an A paper on “The Female Representation in Marcel Duchamp Fountain As Seen From a Socialist Perspective”. Honestly, no one cares. This may be hard to come to terms with but, the quicker you let go of your past the faster you can jump start your future.
Writing is important because it allows you to connect with people you may never meet. To quote Daft Punk “..it’s amazing what you’ll find face to face…” but you need to get there first. Learn to be cordial in your writing. Emails, Facebook, Twitter, all of these are examples of your writing skills. This is your public voice, so never be dismissive with your words. Words have weight and you need to craft them in order to give them a tone and a feeling while engaging with others online.
Words can be weapons: be careful how you use them. The wrong choice of words can end a conversation; use your manners and words wisely.
The old adage says “It’s not what you know but who you know”. The truth lies somewhere in between. Your network is everything: it’s the sum of who you are and where you’re going. So make sure to be positive in your interactions with others. These encounters can range from conversations to emails and introductions.
You never know when you will need to lean on someone. It’s great to just be polite and friendly always, the bottom line is who surrounds you will support you on your quest.
While university teaches you important facts about yourself, the world and history, failing at life will teach you lessons so invaluable you will never be the same again. The more you fail, the more you fall down, the stronger you will be. Your best self awaits, so go find it. Remember this is an undiscovered country, tread lightly and communicate wisely; every interaction counts.