So, you’re a graduate – congratulations! Now it’s time to join the rest of us in the working world. LinkedIn recently published an article that lists all sorts of useful stats about majors, industries and job titles in the top 10 major cities. This is very helpful for anyone in those cities, but what about the grad looking for a job in a small town or the ‘burbs? Well, these tips are for you!
Seriously though, it’s incredibly easy to find things online, no matter how private your accounts. I’ve seen someone lose out on an interview firsthand because their Facebook was highly inappropriate. Contrary to what society today tells us, image matters. Make sure yours is professional.
My second tip is to keep in mind that your first job doesn’t have to be your dream job. I know, it’s been drilled into our little millennial heads to “follow our dreams.” The reality is, you need experience to land your dream job. In a small town, you’re likely to be part of a smaller company where job functions overlap. I’m not saying take any old job, but if there’s some admin work thrown into that marketing role you like, it isn’t the end of the world. Trust me, you will still learn a lot.
Third, research! Sure, your friend who studied the same exact thing at the same exact school may be off in NYC making $60,000 a year. That doesn’t mean you can go asking for that amount during interviews. Research the salaries in your area for your desired job and experience level and consider the amount you need to be comfortable. This works in reverse, too. Don’t settle for a much lower than average salary just because you’re a new grad and in a small town. Know what you’re worth and stick to it.
Last but not least, consider the pros and cons of living and working in a big city versus a small town. Personally, I started out living and working in NYC and found that it wasn’t worth it for me. I could barely afford to save after paying for my rent, MetroCard and other “life” expenses. Plus, I’m not one for being jammed up against 50 other angry New Yorkers while commuting to work – I much prefer driving to my suburban job. For others I graduated with, they’re thriving in the city. They live close to work and can walk, love their jobs and figured out how to afford life. So, remember to include your personal preferences in your pros and cons list. Money and location don’t mean much if you’re miserable.
So, celebrate! Eat some cake, cash those graduation checks from Grandma, then get back to reality. Consider these tips when looking for your small-town or suburban job. Just because Google or the NY Times isn’t down the street, doesn’t mean you won’t prosper.