With graduation season in full swing, now is a time to celebrate and look back on all you’ve accomplished – and it’s also time to set your sights on the future. Offering advice to fresh graduates is a tradition as old as education itself, but sometimes, less is more. With that in mind, here are five simple (but extremely effective) tips to take with you:
1. Be a Trailblazer
In business today, words like ‘innovation’ and ‘disruption’ get thrown around a lot. To make these abstract ideas a part of your concrete self-growth, challenge the status quo and blaze your own trail. When HBS graduates Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp first floated the idea of a monthly beauty box subscription, they met resistance from CEOs who didn’t see the value in trying something new. But Barna and Beauchamp didn’t let the status quo stand in their way. These forward thinkers put even more power behind their innovative ideas, and today, Birchbox has shipped millions of boxes to customers who can’t get enough of their disruptive beauty box concept
2. Embrace Your Faults
How to overcome your flaws? First, you’ve got to get to know them. Make an honest list of your weaknesses and allow yourself the time and energy to get to the root of each problem. Are you always late because you’re bad at time management, or simply because you underestimate how long certain activities take? Invest the time to evaluate your faults and you’ll have a much better shot at fixing them. As a bonus, when a job interviewer asks about your weaknesses, you’ll be ready to give an honest self-appraisal and explain the challenges you’ve overcome – demonstrating to the boss that you’re an adaptable employee who’s ready to change his or her approach when something’s not right.
3. Learn Something New Every Day
Eager to escape education and dive into your career? Not so fast. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, as every successful leader knows. One easy way to grow your knowledge every single day is to read often and widely – from current events, to historical fiction, to industry publications that span sectors you’ve never even heard of. This continual learning process is even more essential in the digital age. If there’s a popular new app you don’t understand, download it and play with it until you do. And, if you find yourself calling tech support at the office, ask them to explain the problem so you can fix it on your own the next time a similar one occurs.
4. Never Stop Networking
The importance of professional and personal networking cannot be overstated. One-on-one connections frequently lead to new jobs, higher value clients and unexpected opportunities. If you haven’t already, join a professional social media network such as LinkedIn. You never know who might be looking at your profile, so update your skills and resume regularly. Of course, it’s also important to approach networking the old fashioned way. If you meet an interesting contact, don’t just follow them on social media or send an email – invite them for coffee or hire out an hour of their time to consult on a project. These in-person connections help new professional relationships grow faster and last longer.
5. Go Further
If you’re frustrated with job opportunities close to home, or simply looking for an invigorating change, take your career abroad. Working overseas can open up new opportunities for advancement and help you develop unique personal and professional skills.