Graduates, your parents sent you out into the world to take advantage of an educational opportunity to hopefully prepare you for the workforce. For you, it came with a newfound freedom – no more midnight curfews, mandatory household chores, or “eat all your greens before dessert” warnings. Your dorm room looked like a scene from Animal House, your unattended common cold coupled with a 4 a.m. bedtime escalated into full-blown mono, and you competed in drinking games that resulted in some incriminating photos you hope your parents never get their hands on.
But assuming you attended your classes and diligently completed your assignments when the partying subsided, you’re most likely wondering how to put that shiny new diploma to work. You’d be surprised at how well that fresh college ingenuity can help you survive your first real gig. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not usually the big-name companies that are offering the best first jobs to cultivate this ingenuity. Turns out, small business aren’t just moving America’s economy forward – they’re also contributing to millennial workforce training. In order to tackle the small-business job market, think about it in terms of pledging a sorority or fraternity.
PLEDGING SMALL BUSINESSES
Keep Your Eye On The Prize. Focusing on the end game will help you get through the dreaded hazing process. Small businesses will give you the real-world experience it takes to join a more corporate organization. Take monotonous admin work and tough projects in stride. Oftentimes, you’ll have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the owners and learn directly from them. It takes a lot of hard work to run a lean business today, and you’ll see it from the front line.
Communicate Effectively. When you first arrived on campus, you checked out all your Greek-life options. In order to pledge, you were forced to put yourself out there in order to find a sorority/fraternity that you connected with personally. Once you learned the ropes – how to market yourself effectively – pledging became easier. Navigating the small-business job market is a similar process. After securing a position, you’re able to leverage those communication skills to enhance your own professional development. Niche companies demand real face-time with other employees in different disciplines, allowing you to get a taste for each aspect of the business and forcing you to learn quickly.
Get Creative. Remember all those crazy, themed parties where dress code determined admission, such as togas made from bed sheets and ugly sweaters borrowed from parents? Don’t think that just because you put on a suit everyday, you can leave your creative drive at home. In our digital age, creativity is more important than ever – it fuels valuable content and boosts customer engagement. By suggesting a new idea at the staff meeting, not only do you show initiative, but you also prove yourself as innovative – an incredibly sought-after soft skill.
Learn How To Stretch A Buck. As a teen, it’s a lot more fun spending money when it’s not your own. But small businesses often work under tight budgets and short deadlines, forcing you to learn how to be efficient with both time and finances. As a member of a small team, you will contribute to the bottom line, so be sure that you act wisely.
Be Flexible. In college, you changed your social plans constantly to keep up with classes, extracurricular activities, and make time for everyone. In the workplace, you need to make adjustments along the way and be prepared to take on more responsibilities sooner than you may have anticipated.
A small business is the ideal environment for new graduates. You’ll see your resume blossom in ways you never thought possible. In a short period of time, you’ll gain valuable experience and develop new skills at light-year speed compared to most entry-level corporate jobs.
Now you know what market to tackle, but have you started on your job search plan? Complete with resume / cover letter guides and useful checklists, our free Job Search Toolkit will help you get your career off the ground and track your progress. Download it today!