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I graduated! ....Now what?

So you graduated college but are not really sure what all is “out there” for you in terms of employment options. Congrats! You’re in the 99th percentile of recent grads!

It all sounds very daunting when you speak with recent grads and they tell you how the real world has been treating them and the different kinds of places they all work. That said, let’s take a peek at the most common options available to any recent grad seeking employment in the most painless way possible. Thanks to Business News Daily and Nicole Fallon for some insights!


To many job seekers, especially those who are just entering the job market, working for a start-up sounds like an exciting opportunity — and it is. You get to help build a company from the ground up, and you'll be able to see the impact of your contributions as the business grows. If you want to live and breathe your work, and have a real say in the company's future direction, you'll likely thrive in a start-up setting. The risks are high, but if — and that's a big "if" — the company takes off, the rewards are even higher.

Ask yourself:

--- Does the idea of working in a non-traditional setting and solving new problems every day appeal to me?

--- Do I want a self-directed role that will constantly change and evolve as the company does?

--- Am I prepared to take on the risks and challenges of being involved with a new start-up (i.e., business failure, low up-front compensation, long hours)?

I had the experience of working at a start-up when I was a new graduate, and frankly I was in the wrong mindset. The number one way I would describe working in a start-up would be “All Hands on Deck...Always." I was unsuccessful at showing my passion for their products and it makes a tremendous difference in a heavily visible environment.

Be ready to work!

Small or Mid-size Business

Working for a small or mid-size business affords you the opportunity to affect the company, but comes with far less risk than a start-up. Smaller businesses tend to treat their employees like family, and though you may not be a key decision maker, the people in charge will hear your voice. According to a recent survey, 63% of small business owners describe their leadership style as democratic. When small businesses are hiring, they look for individuals who are honest (29%) and dependable (33%). Promotions and raises won't happen as often as they would at a bigger company, but your role and hours will typically remain consistent. Small businesses have a relaxed, family atmosphere, and [as an employee] you'll have more nights and weekends free.

Ask yourself:

--- Would I like to feel like a valued member of a close-knit company, regardless of my role?

--- Do I want the chance to develop personal relationships with a business's clients and customers?

--- Am I OK with not having as many advancement opportunities due to limited resources and staff size?

My second role was with a small marketing agency - meaning they provided services to numerous clients - and had a very similar feel. The balance of life and work was more clearly defined, but the pay was comparatively low and unchanging.

If you want to take this route, make sure you look at the culture of a small or medium sized business. If it’s not spectacular, perhaps consider some place where the compensation makes up for that gap.

Large Corporation

Although start-ups and entrepreneurship are becoming more popular career choices, joining "Corporate America" is still the end-goal for many job seekers. If you're looking for a traditional 9-to-5 office job that offers salary plus benefits, job security and a chance to rise up through the ranks, this is probably the path for you.

Larger, more established companies are also a good fit for individuals who prefer guidance from management in their job duties. You won't have much influence in business decisions until you reach a higher level, but there's strength in numbers. A big company has a big presence in its industry and market, so you'll get to be part of that.

Ask yourself:

--- Am I looking for financial stability and a strong career path with regular raises and promotions?

--- Do I perform best when I'm in a structured environment with clear-cut processes and reporting lines?

--- Am I willing to accept less credit and recognition within the company in exchange for access to greater resources, professional development and networking opportunities?

My current role is with a very large corporation - Accenture LLP - with over 300,000 employees. Will anyone notice if I take some time off? No. Is my role valued to the enterprise as a whole, allowing me to share my input with leadership? Uh, hell no.

The big corporate scene is nice and comfy, but if you do not challenge yourself to make the most of it you can become too comfortable and wake up 10 years from now with the same role.


Non-profit organizations, as the name implies, are companies whose proceeds go toward a cause, rather than business development or investments. This being the case, non-profits often try to keep their overhead costs — office space, equipment and salaries — as low as possible to ensure their dollars do the most good they can. You won't get rich working for a non-profit, but you'll likely get a much greater sense of purpose and fulfillment from your career. To work in and support non-profits, you must know that partnership is essential, innovative thinking is key and it's all about the people you serve…

Ask yourself:

--- Am I passionate about a social or environmental cause?

--- Do I want to have a direct, positive impact on the world through my work?

--- Would I rather make a difference than a lot of money?

Finding your company:

If ONLY there was some place that could help motivated individuals find a great gig….Oh wait! There is.

(See what I did there?

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