For many students, graduation is an experience that is equal parts exciting and challenging. If you’re nearing graduation, or if the big day has already passed, you probably relate to this view.
While the prospect of a bright future and career is immediately present, graduates also have to contend with an uncertain economy, a rapidly shifting labor market and a high level of competition for open positions.
Because of this, it’s easy for graduates to slip into complacency, especially if they land their “dream job” straight out of university. Many will feel the urge to settle down and “stop exploring”.
But this mindset, according to Charles Steinmyller, should be avoided. The period after graduation holds infinite possibilities for life-enhancing experiences. Graduates who can grasp these possibilities have almost unlimited potential in terms of their personal and professional development.
Charles, who was born in France and is now based in Geneva, is a senior brand manager at Procter and Gamble, where he is part of the Tampax Europe division. He has traveled extensively and has experience working and studying in countries as diverse as Germany, Brazil, Korea, the USA, Canada and others. He also joined the France Navy for one year, where he spent some time in the Arctic. In his talk, Charles gave students and graduates several practical tips for cultivating a growth and exploration-oriented approach to their lives and careers.
1. Recognize That Recruiters Are Looking for “Something Extra”
Charles began his discussion by making the point that recruiters are looking for candidates with unique resumes. When you apply for a job, employers will search for the small differences that separate from you the majority of other candidates.
In particular, when you show that you’re adaptable and able to shift between fields, you provide potential employers with added value. Having a diversity of experiences, both personal and professional, increases your job scope because it positively impacts your ability to work in different roles within the sample company. And recruiters recognize and value this.
Charles said that graduates should pursue new experiences so that they stand out in a crowded market. Seeking new experiences builds on your graduate degree and gives employers a clear idea of what really drives you.
2. Pursue Leadership Roles
Drawing on his experience in the French Navy, Charles emphasized the importance of seeking out experiences that allow you to experience leadership roles. In the Navy, Charles developed skills in three key areas: delegation, communication and teamwork.
Crucially, he was placed in a position where he was encouraged to develop these “soft” leadership skills. And he was able to carry these abilities from the rarefied environment of an army ship into a corporate setting.
Charles also said that a big part of his success derives from his network. The team-building and cooperative experiences he had while in the Navy enabled him to build long-lasting personal and professional relationships that benefited him immensely later in his career.
3. Work to Achieve a Healthy Balance Between Job Stability and New Experiences
Charles initially struggled to integrate his enthusiasm for new experiences with his aspiration for a stable job. He eventually found a healthy balance by searching for a job that gave him enough holiday time and income to take trips outside of work. He was also careful to opt for a company that was open to allowing its employees to take sabbaticals. And he emphasized that a growing number of employers are moving in this direction.
He emphasized that corporate life is not incompatible with “adventurous life”. Charles said that graduates simply have to be disciplined when it comes to managing their time and income. At certain points, the desire to pursue a career over adventure will be greater, and vice versa, and it is important to pursue these inclinations with courage when they arise.
4. Work on Your LinkedIn Profile
Charles was keen to emphasize the importance of LinkedIn profiles. According to Charles, your LinkedIn profile is your window into the professional world.
He said that he had found numerous open positions and connected with a myriad of people through his LinkedIn profile. Many companies use LinkedIn directly to find new employees. And most will at least check potential candidate’s pages.
As you acquire new skills and experiences, your LinkedIn profile will act as a place to consolidate and showcase them. Equally, building up your network on LinkedIn ensures that you stay connected over the long term with old connections and colleagues.
5. Learn About Inter-Generational Differences
Many graduates worry about being classed as “Generation Y” or “Generation Z” by older managers and senior individuals within an organization, and thus being excluded from the recruitment process.
In response to this issue, Charles again highlighted the importance of having a wide set of experiences and personal connections as a graduate. Candidates that understand inter-generational differences are able to act in accordance with the preferences and expectations of people from different generations when necessary.
In this way, they can bring a broad set of interpersonal “tools” to an employer. These tools enable them to combine traditional ways of operating with a fresh, more contemporary perspective.
Launch Your Business Career With EU Business School
Are you eager to pursue a career in business? Perhaps you envision yourself at the head of a startup. Alternatively, you might be attracted to a leadership position at a large enterprise or a mission-driven non-profit organization.
EU Business School offers a wide selection of postgraduate Master’s and MBA degrees. These courses are designed to build on the skills and experience that you have already acquired through your undergraduate studies, fine-tuning your abilities as a business leader and increasing your value to potential employers.
As a postgraduate student, you’ll have the opportunity to live on campus in one of Europe’s leading business hubs while studying with some of the world’s leading business thinkers.