Whether you land a job straight out of college or take on extra internships to add to your skills set, it’s useful to take time to evaluate where you are and plan for where you want to be.
Have a vision
It may be hard and highly unlikely that you’ll have it all figured out. Consider what intrigues you now. Say you enjoy cooking—if working in a field that taps into that interest appeals to you, think of the small-scale steps that can take you in that direction, like enrolling in a cooking class that will sharpen your technique. It’s also a good time to seek a mentor—someone whose line of work you would like to pursue. They can help you determine what steps to take next.
Check your skills
The skills section on your resume says a lot about what you know and what you don’t know. While administrative tasks are important—good telephone etiquette and knowledge of Microsoft Office—more exclusive skills will set you apart when you take the next step. Maybe you’re pursuing a career in the editorial field where in the future you will be required to manage a group of freelance writers, copy editors, etc. As you consider your next move, seek out a role that will award your leadership experience, even in a small scale. Working an entry-level position doesn’t necessarily rule out leadership opportunities. For instance, “guided interns in their development of story ideas”, is a more effective skill than “good interpersonal skills.”
Set short-term goals
You might already have your eyes on the prize: maybe you have big dreams of some day hosting your own T.V. show. Great! Knowing what you want to do is only half the battle and you’ll need to take one step a time. Setting short-term goals, like the kind you can accomplish in a year, will gradually bring you closer to realizing your dreams, while heeding the details along the way. So if it’s a big T.V. gig that you’re after, make it your goal to secure an assistant producer position that will expose you to the process and contacts in the industry.
Weigh the benefits
Every position enables growth. Once you have spent a couple of years in the working world and have gradually increased your experience, it’s natural that you will want your paychecks to grow with it. Entry-level jobs, though not the best paying, give you a foot in the door. I once interviewed a highly successful entrepreneur who told me that working entry-level jobs for large corporations early in his career—despite the bad pay—was the best school he could ask for.
– Luisana Suegart