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7 Steps To Planning Your Career After Graduation

Matthew Du

Team Prosple

Fresh grads should have a career objective - but that isn’t always the case. There are many instances where a fresh grad may not know what to do straight after graduation. They tend to chase their passions and change jobs often as they look for ways to move up the ladder and increase their salary at a much faster pace in comparison to past generations. 

Right here, you see a disconnect between what they want to do and what they do. 

Based on our own corporate experience, jumping ship every chance you get isn’t the path to quick progression. Instead, we recommend this 7-step process for all new graduates.

7 Steps To Planning Your Career After Graduation

Planning your entire career after graduation is an important but often overlooked step that not many fresh graduates spend enough of their time on. 

It’s very common to join a company, work there, and assume that this is what the next 30 years of your life would look like.  While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, what if you’re dream job isn’t in the trajectory of your current career path? Well, then you’ll need to follow these 5 easy steps.

Step 1.) Self-Assessment

The very first thing you’ll need to do is take a good look at yourself and assess. Assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

This is called performing a SWOT analysis and it’s a framework used primarily in business and entrepreneurship to identify a company’s unique value offering. Applying this analysis to your current job and career, however, will allow you to identify points to improve, work on, or maintain. 

The SWOT analysis is comprised mainly of two parts:

Internal Environment

First, you need to analyze your internal strengths and weaknesses. Identify skills and abilities that make you an indispensable employee while finding key points of improvement that have either been mentioned by your co-workers or something you know to be true about yourself. List down these strengths and weaknesses.

External Environment

If strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that you can always improve on, then opportunities and threats represent the external variables outside of your control. List down opportunities for growth, career advancement, and upskilling while making a mental note of the threats that hinder you from achieving your goals. 

Step 2.) Explore Your Options

You’ve just graduated and you’re looking to find the industry that you’ll be dedicating the next  5 to 10 years to. This is the perfect time for you to explore your options by learning about different industries and how they interact with one another.

This is normally the part where we mention that you should chase your passions to start building up your job experience. Actual experience tells us otherwise. We’ve found that new job seekers tend to want to focus on the “hot” industries like sports, luxury goods, or high-end consulting to start off their career - but this short-sighted approach leads to quick burnout when passions change and no meaningful progress has been made.

Step 3.) Create A Seven- to Ten- Year Vision

Instead of blindly chasing your passions to see where it takes you, we believe that college graduates should try and focus on the long term. We recommend creating a seven to ten-year plan with a clear end goal in mind. This end goal could be anything from attaining a company position, such as a chief financial officer or chief marketing officer, to learning a specific skill set and gaining certain experiences. 

During this time, you should be taking the time to map out the path toward your dream job. Examine company structures and consider the benefits and drawbacks of moving across positions. Also, it would be best to consider the geographic requirements of these positions - you can’t do the job if you’re not there, right? 

Step 4.) Find A Mentor

You know what you want to do and you know what you need to do to get there. It’s time to find a mentor to help answer key questions you may have about the industry and maybe even connect you with the right people to help kickstart your path. Here are two great ways to find a mentor:

Connect Through Social Media

Social Media helps people from all walks of life to connect with one another. It’s an especially powerful tool to meet someone new that might help you along your path. You could, for example, utilize LinkedIn to research the backgrounds of the people who are already in your dream role. Introduce yourself politely and ask them a couple of questions - the worst they could do is say no.

Join A Mentorship Platform

If you’ve had no success in finding a good mentor through the free methods we mentioned above, maybe it’s time to consider joining a mentorship platform for a small fee. Platforms such as MentorCruise, GrowthMentor, and Pelion, all connect aspiring professionals with experienced mentors. Hailing from different industries across the world, it’s almost impossible to not find an expert in your field. The best part? They’re paid to listen to you - so you know that they’re doing everything they can to help you out. 

Step 5.) Network

One of the best ways to launch your career is by capitalizing on your existing networks. Either find people in your network who have already achieved what you’re looking to do or go to networking events to connect with people who already have the knowledge, skills, and expertise you need. No matter where you are, there should be many free networking events in your area that you could go to. Buckle up and get ready to meet new people. 

Step 6.) Execute

You’ve built a 10-year plan, but what good does it do if you don’t see it through? You’ll find that sticking to your plan will help you in many ways: You build self-discipline. You discover more about yourself as a professional and human. You can address changing interests and open new paths the more experienced and knowledgeable you become. There will always be reasons to deviate from the path you’ve set out for yourself, hardships, unexpected disasters, and misfortune are all part of the growing process. 

Planning and strategizing are essential action points - but the execution is arguably more important. The first thing you could do is to set out and start applying for jobs through sites like Prosple.com. Filter through the thousands of open positions specifically for students and fresh graduates on our website and launch your career today.

Step 7.) Revise And Edit Your Career Plan

Good execution doesn’t mean that you can’t revise your path either. Life is a consent ebb and flow of change, so what you want today may not be what you are interested in tomorrow. 

Having a working career plan will help you stay motivated during all the twists and turns that your path will throw at you - but what if you don’t want that path anymore? 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should be changing and revising your career plan every time a new interest shows itself. Learn to read the trends, discover more about yourself and the things you enjoy, and work your way from there.


Are you ready to find your first job? We help students and fresh grads find the best internships and fresh graduate jobs to get you started with your career. Sign up for free at ph.prosple.com!