Career Advice For College Leavers - Kickstart Your Career Despite the Economy

If you have recently left college or are leaving this year, what can you do to improve your chances of getting a head start in your career? Planning your career is particularly important in the present climate and this will involve some serious thought as well as background research. In addition, you will need to be willing to take a take a step back and review your situation within the context of the overall economy.

In the past, career planning was often just a simple matter of deciding on your goal, plotting a course that would lead you there and then applying for a job which would be an appropriate starting point.

If no one is hiring in the type of jobs you would ordinarily be applying for, what can you do? Should you plan to head in a different direction or opt for a completely new career in an area which is relatively recession proof?

If you can't get the sort of job you want right away, you have to learn to think a little more creatively. This doesn't mean that you won't be able to reach your ultimate goal, it just means you might have to consider taking a slightly different route to get there. And that doesn't necessarily mean that it will take you longer.

One of the best things you can do is to look at your end goal and decide exactly which skills and experience you will need to get there. Once you have worked out what those are, look beyond the traditional path and see where else you can gain the qualities you need.

Some of the skills required will, of course, be specific to the career itself, but many will be more generic and can be gained in a huge diversity of situations. Many employers are looking for people who can work in teams, are prepared to take risks or have highly developed communication skills.

Most of these skills are lacking in recent graduates and so this could be a good opportunity for you to develop your skills and do something different and interesting in the meantime.

For example, a period in another part of the country or even abroad as a volunteer could give you some skills which would otherwise take years to acquire. You could take the opportunity to do something new and adventurous which might be harder to do later, when you are on the career track.

Or you could work in a completely different field for a while, giving yourself a wider range of experience, yet still getting the skills you need. For example, you could work in an area related to one of your hobbies. If you are into sport, you might consider working on an outward bound scheme or if cooking is your thing, a job in a hotel or restaurant abroad could combine all sorts of things: experience of travel, working in a team, using languages, and becoming more independent

So instead of letting the economy get you down, plan your career with a view to widening your horizons and having some fun before you start climbing the career ladder

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Waller Jamison is a qualified teacher and careers advisor, who knows how difficult it can be to achieve your dreams.

Published At: Career Advice For College Leavers - Kickstart Your Career Despite the Economy