The Big Question: What To Do With That College Degree?

Fagen-Eric2You just spent the last few years working towards graduating from college, now what? This milestone event has that million dollar question hanging over your head, and your parents on your back. In December 2014 I graduated from Roanoke College and the feeling of joy and pride of graduating from college was mostly filled with anxiety because, like many graduates, I did not have a full time position lined up. With a degree in History, I was interested in conducting research for various institutions, such as banks and advertising agencies, but with few interviews compared to the amount of applications, it was hard to stay positive during this process.

The months following graduation were harder than any class, semester, or seminar in college because of the self-reflection and doubt: did I pick the right major? Did I not conduct the right internships and research opportunities? Did I not know the right people? Was I not applying for the right positions?

After speaking with a mentor, I was convinced to try creating a presence on websites I did not consider before, like Indeed and LinkedIn. After spending a few weeks looking at other professionals’ careers, I realized I wasn’t thinking outside the box for positions that I would enjoy – and in which I would find success.

I looked into doing research for other industries that I had not considered before, like Transportation, Federal Contracting, and Staffing, by leveraging my liberal arts degree. My liberal arts degree was influential in this search because of the focus on writing, communication, and interpersonal skills, something I had not thought of using to my benefit. By thinking outside the box, my job search changed entirely. Instead of a few phone calls, I began to have more and more interviews in industries I hardly considered. The process became exciting as I looked into various career paths and moving to a new city.

Graduating from college can be a wonderful opportunity to explore careers that you may not have contemplated and a process that can go from being filled with anxiety to moments of excitement when the right opportunity becomes your new position.

As a Research Associate at JustinBradley, Eric spends his days researching clients and their competitors, identifying and pre-screening potential accounting and financial specialists and tracking down top candidates in this talent-driven market. His is the first in a series of articles by JustinBradley employees geared toward recent graduates and those new to the workforce.

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