- Get Involved
Congratulations to all of the 2020 graduates! Many of you are well on your way to jumping into your chosen career or starting a brand new one. It’s an exciting place to be with your future options spread out in front of you!
At Cardinal Services, recent high school and college graduates often work as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Working as a DSP is an ideal job for new graduates, as it can help you launch your career in special education, psychology, physical therapy, and more.
Whether you decide to work for Cardinal Services or pursue your career in a different direction, the following tips can help you “win” at work!
1. Take The Initiative
Whether you’re a full-time employee or an intern, taking the initiative to go above and beyond the expectations of your manager or supervisor is one of the best ways to stand out in the workplace. Look for problems that you can solve and propose solutions that work for your employer!
2. Identify What You Really Want
Before you jump into sending out resumes and considering job offers, take the time to think through what you want. What are your values? What is important to you both in your personal life and in your workplace?
Use that information to help identify the type of job you want to hold and the type of company or organization you want to work for. Finding a job and employer who match your ethics and values will serve you well as you progress in your career.
3. Join A Professional Group
Joining an official organization related to the field you are interested in can help you network with professionals who hold the type of jobs you want. Many of these types of groups have conferences or host networking events that can help you connect with local businesses and mentors.
Here in Kosciusko County, the Chamber of Commerce regularly hosts Young Adult Professionals (YAP) networking opportunities that can be a great fit for anyone looking to connect to other local young professionals.
4. Avoid Sending A Generic Resume And Cover Letter
When you’ve decided to apply for a job, the last thing you want to do is send a resume and cover letter that sound like everyone else’s. Customize your resume to fit the position you’re applying to fill by showcasing the projects, experience, and skills that make you the right choice for the job.
Take the time to write a personalized cover letter that clearly highlights how your skills match well with the job description. It only takes a few minutes, but can make a huge difference to an HR department wading through resumes!
5. Create A Plan For Your First 90 Days
Once you land your new job, create a plan for your first 90 days. Why 90 days? Because most employers consider a new employee’s first 90 days to be almost a trial run. Create a list of tasks and milestones you want to accomplish to set yourself up for success after your first 90 days.
Ready To Apply To Become A Direct Support Professional?
6. Continue To Learn In The Office…And Out
The most successful people are lifelong learners. While you’re probably still celebrating the end of college or high school, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. After you’ve given yourself time to settle into your new job, find ways to continue your professional development through online courses and career development books.
7. Find Your Work-Life Balance
Your career is likely at the forefront of your mind right now, but remember that work isn’t the only thing in your life. Find a job that can be flexible alongside your other priorities. Do you want to travel? Spend more time with family? Take on creative projects? Make sure the job you choose supports the rest of the goals you have for your life.
8. Use Your First Job To Open Doors
Sometimes recent grads end up losing out on opportunities to jump-start their career by being too focused on their “forever” job. Your first job may not be the job you have to carry you through until retirement, and that’s ok!
The goal of your first job post-graduation should be to gain experience and open more doors and opportunities for you than you had when you graduated.
9. Make The Most Of Social Media
One of the best ways to utilize social media while you’re job-hunting or working your first job is by making sure you keep track of and share your professional achievements. LinkedIn is the perfect social media platform to do this, so make sure you create a profile that makes you stand out and showcases your best professional work.
10. Don’t Limit Yourself Based On Your Degree
Remember, you aren’t limited to the field your college degree is in or the focus of your studies in your final years in high school. While some graduates definitely end up working in their field of study, many use it as a springboard to find new areas of interest.
Don’t be afraid to try another path outside of your degree, especially if it seems like an exciting opportunity!