After the late-night studying, interning and working part-time jobs, the time has finally come to graduate. And many of you just did! Now that you're entering the real world facing all the responsibilities that come with it, you're probably anxious to start getting paid.
You're not alone. State of the Girl, a survey conducted by my non-profit, 1,000 Dreams Fund, in partnership with Toluna Quicksurveys.com, found that over half of our student and recent graduate respondents are NOT confident that they will find a job in their chosen field that pays well. Why does this matter so much? Many of you are likely facing some student debt (nearly $37,000 on average!).
Don't fret. Here's my secret: Keep your dream job top of mind but aim for the best job you can get right now, putting your pay rate at the center of that decision. While it may not be your dream, your first job can push you forward, leading you to where you ultimately want to be working. Here are a few tips on finding the best fit job for the best pay.
Use many fishing lines to hook that perfect fish
When searching for a first job that pays well, it's important to keep your options open. Look for jobs that are not only a good fit, but also ones that are going to help you financially. Targeting only one or two companies can limit your potential to get hired. It may be.that fifth or sixth company that ends up being the perfect fit, both for your profession and your pocket, but you won't know unless you put yourself out there. For extra guidance, check out an earlier blog I posted on The Huffington Post on how to stand out during the recruitment process.
Realize that not everyone can work at Google
Let's be real. Although it's great to have an end goal of working at a best-in-brand company, you don't want to put all of your apples in one basket - especially when there are bills to pay and only so many positions to go around. Keep dreaming and yes, apply to Google if that is your dream company. But also be willing to expand your list of target companies to lesser-known ones. You'll often find less competition for what can truly be coveted spots with those companies. Inc.com's Best Places to Work, which is annually updated, is a great resource for finding those other "hidden gem" companies - maybe even a few in your own backyard!
Small businesses and startups can offer recent grads exciting work opportunities with great earning potential - and even perks like stock options! Often these companies provide a broad range of work assignments across different areas of the business given its smaller size. Small businesses are also ideal because they have less hierarchy - meaning more meaningful, hands-on work opportunities. And they likely offer attractive benefits like 401(k) investment plans and health insurance. According to a Hartford's 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey, we know that benefits are important to 40 percent of you when considering where you work.
Where to find these opportunities? For startups, AngelList is a great resource. Check out local Chambers of Commerce and community chapters of national organizations for small business options. These local networking organizations networks give you a lay of the land, and can connect you with the leaders who work to make their communities thrive - and who are looking for smart, young talent like you!
All the responsibilities you have to take on in the "real world" from finding your first job to financially having to support yourself can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath, and focus on taking one step at a time. The right job for right now is out there, and it will definitely lead you to where you want to go. You just have to go after it!