5 Steps to Refresh Your Career Post-Grad

Being about a year and a half out of college (that’s scary), I’ve been noticing more and more that there has been an uptick in friends leaving their first jobs, getting promoted, changing companies, or even their entire career path. 
We’ve reached that point where people are learning more about what they want long-term, and actually accomplishing it. (small applause for them, because I’m fairly positive I still have no clue what I’m doing, or even what’s for dinner tonight…)
Whatever the career challenge is that you might be facing, there is never a bad time to step back and hit the ‘refresh’ button. Maybe you’re really comfortable where you are, but you’re not challenging yourself to achieve even more. Maybe you’re dying to leave the company you’re working with or even the industry, but you’re not sure where to begin. 
I can definitely relate to a lot of these different “what am I going to do” questions – and I’ve slowly been tackling them over the course of the last few months. It can be really daunting if you don’t know where to begin, which is why I’ve broken down the most simple and effective ways to refresh your career and help you plan for what’s next!

1. Constantly Re-Evaluate 

You likely work in a place that has some sort of review process in place (midyear reviews, annual reviews, performance evaluations…) These can be very helpful, but realistically no one knows you better than you know yourself. Sit down every few months and evaluate yourself. What have you been enjoying in your current role, and what do you wish was improved? Where are your strengths and weakness in your role, and what skills do you need to enhance to get to the next level or promotion? Write them down, and take real steps to accomplish them.

2. Start Developing Meaningful Connections & Get References

You may have done your fair share of networking and establishing relationships with your coworkers at this point, and perhaps you’ve gone so far as to really work to get to know your superiors as well. However, there is a huge difference in being an acquaintance with someone, and actually taking it to the level of a professional connection. Are they someone you’d be able to sit down for coffee with and ask for a recommendation? If not, what steps can you be taking to get to that point? Starting to gather references will go a very long way down the line when it’s time for a promotion, or perhaps a change of pace.

3. Update/Scan Through Your LinkedIn Once A Month

I was definitely late to the game when it comes to embracing LinkedIn as a platform…and there is a very good chance that hurt my chances and made me miss a few opportunities. You don’t have to enjoy scrolling through it every morning in place of Instagram, but doing a quick audit once a month on your profile to see if there is anything you can add/update will go a long way.

4. Keep Learning

Education and learning doesn’t just stop because you wore a cap and gown and have a diploma hanging up in a frame somewhere. The real world has even more opportunities to continue to grow your skills and learn something you didn’t have the chance to in college – maybe there is a coding course you find really interesting, a conference in your city with an incredible chance for networking, or some other way you can expand your skill set. These are also great conversation starts in the interview process.

5. Know Yourself & Your Strengths

A lot of people think they know what they’ll enjoy or thrive in, only to find out 1-3 years after college that it wasn’t exactly their dream job. When you’re in that place of feeling stuck, knowing your strengths/weaknesses as well as your likes/dislikes makes a major difference, and will save you from interviewing for jobs you won’t end up wanting. I used the LevoLeague App to find out my best professional skills, and it gave me an incredible amount of insight into myself. I highly recommend giving it a try!

Has anyone else felt like they’re stuck in that rut of not really knowing what their next move is? It can be really daunting. I’d love to hear some of the ways you’ve tried (and either succeeded or failed) in hitting the reset button in the comments below!

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