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Career Guidance For Entry Level Graduates

Updated on Jun 23, 2017 7674 views
Career Guidance For Entry Level Graduates

Who is an Entry Level Graduate?

It is important to remember that many employment agencies commonly use the term “entry level graduate” to identify new college/university graduates who are job seekers possibly looking for career opportunities upon completion of a training or degree program. “Entry level job” is the first job that a new graduate trainee takes. If you’re in the “entry level graduate” stage right now and you’re deeply concerned about how much your lack of experience will affect your chances of getting a job, don’t worry, you’re good to go, why? Because entry level job openings generally require little skills and knowledge to kick start. So right now you need to focus more on self-development and improvement while you hunt for fitting career opportunities. You need career guidance, and we hope this article will guide and help you to stay on track to become a potential hot tie in your field while you look out for job postings and employment opportunities.

Why is career guidance is necessary?

Whether you are an expert, an employee or an entry level graduate seeking for employment jobs, you need a career guide in other to focus and plan with a particular goal in view. For personal growth and development, you need to have a realistic goal. Without such goals to live for, you may stray and you may hardly gain the relevant skills you need to have a fulfilling career.

Important Steps For Your Career as an Entry Level Graduate

There exist quite a number of do’s and don’ts in order to have a successful career. However, the order in which you take each step will make a big difference. To discover your mental preparedness for launching your career, focusing first on who you need to become is more important to your job search because there are mistakes that may have a huge negative impact on your whole career.  The good news is that with prior knowledge and mentorship most of these mistakes can be avoided. It is obviously a learning curve; therefore ensure that you read the following career guide viciously so as to avoid some of the seemingly minor mistakes that can ruin your career opportunities .

1: Enhance your skills

Identify the loopholes in your set of skills. It is important to give more attention to what you do best, your strengths, how?  try researching and identifying  your field of concentration or specialty and  identify as early as possible the obstacles that could prevent you from making progress. After knowing this, focus on gaining the necessary qualifications that are required to boost your knowledge & profile in the given field.  Develop your skill set through:

2: Further Education

  • Attend field related seminars
  • Reach out for professional qualifications
  • Take certificate courses
  • Read extensively on subjects related to your career path
  • Career counseling.

The more specialized and particular your career plans, the more specific the craft you need to gain. This can play an invaluable  role in an after university self development. Being well versed with your career prepares you to easily spot out related entry level jobs  and other employment opportunities you can apply for. A wise man once said, "I am obliged to learn at least one thing daily because no knowledge is lost". This is absolutely pleasing because when pursuing a particular career, it is crucial to decide what skills you need to gain to be successful. Finding opportunities to develop certain skill sets can make your career path a bit more friendly.

3: Networking

Talk to other people about your career. Bouncing ideas, particularly with associates in the same field can always fire up ideas.  Never underestimate talking to friends and family who know you well about your career plans, why? because this can also needle out what you really want to do with your work life. Developing a strong professional social network is another important  instrument you can use in building the appropriate support system you need to advance your career. Focus on gaining new contacts and maintaining previous ones. Later in your career, you can then identify other members of your workforce to network with and create specific teams to complete projects. Having trusted sources to discuss professional problems with can allow you to spot out loopholes  that might arise during the course of your career. You can develop mutually beneficial professional relationships that can be supportive during challenging times. Some advantages of networking include:

  • It helps strengthen relationships for assistance when needed.
  • It affords you new perspectives and ideas which can help you in your career.
  • It opens new doors to employment opportunities.
  • It helps raise your job work profile (referrals)
  • Facilitates exchange of information

These network tools stated above if used within your industry and discipline can prepare you well to make progress in your career. Breeding relationships with your connections is mutually beneficial because it can raise your professional profile and increase your chances to opportunities and also help you navigate through industry challenges that may arise in future.

4: Be Realistic about your Goals

If you do not establish achievable goals and focus your energy on productive career pursuits, you will be so frustrated. Be sure to list out short term and long term goals. Goals that take a long time to achieve are called long-term goals (Far-Future goals). A short-term goal, on the other hand, is something you want to do in the near future, which may be today, this week, this month, or perhaps this year. A short-term goal is something you want to accomplish ASAP. Your goals generally should be  SMART - Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.  Do not be misled, SMART goals may be simple to outline, but difficult  to carry out in reality. Therefore it is essential to often do a brief reflection on these goals to find out if you have made any move so far in achieving the short-term goals, if not, then re-plan and re-execute. Here's a brief Highlight on what your goals may focus on:

  • Adjudge what you want to do, accomplish, or be in life.
  • Break down your larger goal into smaller and more achievable goals or targets
  • Then, develop a proper plan for your goal. Maybe a step by step plan that will enable you to start working towards achieving your goals.
  • Making reasonable action-oriented goals will allow you to clearly plan what you need to achieve to be great in your career. Keeping your personal professional goals in line with your day-to-day work gives you a purview on how to develop a more successful career.

5: Know Your Passion

"As far as the pay is great, I don't mind doing it even though I hate the job".

This is the mindset of some people which leaves them unsatisfied in the long run. Acknowledging your passion before committing to a career can help you avoid making the common mistake of solely focusing on the economic benefits of a certain job. Although the high salary jobs can play a huge role in what you choose to do professionally, you'd be happier and satisfied by determining what you have a passion for and pursuing these type of career objectives. Often than not, you earn more money and satisfaction doing what you know how to do best.  Enjoying your work will further make you shine in your field and gain higher monetary atonement subsequently. The initial economics benefits might be lower but the long term benefits will eventually manifest over time. So which would you rather, laugh now cry later or cry now laugh later? lol. Advantages of following your passion:

  • You can relate more to the job and come up with better ideas
  • You wouldn't feel forced to do work
  • You won't overcome the feeling of doing something you hate, no matter how much money you make. So take a job that makes you happy.
  • You won't have a problem working late hours
  • You'll  be  enthusiastic to go above and beyond the call of duty
  • You are prone to achieving success
  • Life is too short to spend on something you don't enjoy
  • You will get more fulfillment when you finally hit the big mark.

No doubts, money motivates and  builds empires... but remember  that at the same time money break down kingdoms, although it allows for dreams to come true,  it can also take some away.  Yes, it makes some people happy ... yet others completely miserable. Today the pursuit of money is almost directly linked to the pursuit of happiness, many will argue that money is happiness and vise versa. However, this distorted  mindset leads many people to stray down a path that doesn't best suit them.

7: Get Help

Before you  start working, you should find mentors to get advice from to enhance your professional expectancy. They will tell you what to expect from the field you want to get involved with, the challenges that come with it, and how to overcome them. It is wise to listen to such mentors. It is being said that "the smart learn from their experience, but those smarter learn from the experience of others". Mentors will inform you of how performing well at your job can gain the attention of superiors who can aid you in navigating your career path. These professional mentors can provide first hand advice and give hypothesis that you can use to make your advancement easy. Here are steps to take in getting career advice:

  • Educate yourself on the role or career field first
  • Do a background research your contact before getting in touch
  • Work around your contact’s work schedule
  • Come prepared to each meeting
  • Be specific about your questions
  • Condition your expectations
  • Show gratitude after an encounter.

Balancing the opinion of others against your own personal expectations can allow you to find an optimal blueprint for growth. Identifying and working with mentors can be rewarding.

8: Build a Personal Brand

As an entry level graduate, your image and what you stand for is important. You need to create a brand, a brand that represents whom you are and what you want to be. 

What is a Brand?

A brand is an identifying mark with its unique design, sign, symbol, words, or maybe a combination (of these things) that is employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors.  In this article, we would say that 'branding yourself' means to develop a unique professional identity and coherent message that sets you apart from others in your career industry. When you hear of Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Aliko Dangote, Wole Soynika etc. your  mind automatically knows the context. You can never for no reason t to link  Kim Kardashian  with Politics, if you see it happen, you'd be surprise because it will seem unnatural. these people have built their brands from the ground up. These make it easy to identify who to call for a speech in line with their industry. If you have a brand reputation for a particular field, employers will seek you for the brand they know you represent.

Build a Personal Brand First!

When you begin the practice of marketing yourself and  your career as 'a brand', it is called  Personal branding . While trying to achieve personal branding, an individual  imprints a particular impression in the mind of onlookers about himself until it becomes a stereotype.  According to Robert J. Holtz, (Executive - Entrepreneur - Technologist - Corporate Strategist),  "Not only can a person be a brand but the best companies are led by people who using branding concepts to make themselves more memorable and iconic".

If there's anything you need to learn to build with aggression and give an enticing appearance as an entry level graduate, it is yourself (your image) -you are your own brand which distinguishes you. Branding yourself keeps you current in your chosen field, creates opportunities for you, and creates a lasting impression on clients.  As you brand yourself, you are self-promoting yourself to the right eyes. Therefore ask yourself. What is my unique selling proposition? How do I brand myself?  What is my personal branding strategy? What should I do to catch the eyes of my potential employers with my brand?  Here are some suggestions on how you can build your brand:

  • Have a great Curriculum Vitae:  If you aren't sure of how to package your cv, don't be embarrassed to get help. You can use an affordable cv re-write service to create a cv that matches the employers' requirements. A great CV increases your chances of landing your dream Job.
  • Have an online presence :   Use social media tools like these to create a mouth watering eye-catching  profile:
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Angel list
    • Plaxo
  • Review your online presence. (These includes what  your profile says, your pictures and who you follow)
  • Add value to your audience on social media by creating only content that is in line with the brand you want to be associated with.
  • Be deliberate in what you share on social media
  • Connect and consort with other strong  verified  brands and authorities in your field
  • Be innovative and create unique content materials and have a uniform goal
    Here's how McNally defines A brand, he says: "Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you." Always remember to  express the enthusiasm and ideas that you can give if you happen to grab a job, your employer may be watching. The liaison that exists between brands and consumers needs steady nourishment which creates beauty in brand cultures. The same mentality should be applied in personal brands-. Self branding or personal branding should be consistently reinforced and updated. Avoid making serious mistakes online because what is put online stays online.


Now, you are ready to search for a job.  Look out for a job that fits the person you want to be after critically analyzing your goals. There are thousands of job vacancies from job search sites out there for Entry Level Graduates.  You can also search for jobs by location such as job openings in Lagos, job openings in Abuja, etc. But most times the chances of landing a job opening for an inexperienced graduate is slim. On that note you do not have to relax while looking for job. Look out for credible job sites like and subscribe to their jobs and career tips to stay updated with job opportunities and career opportunities. 



If you as an Entry Level Graduate takes advantage of the steps listed above in self development, you will position yourself for the right employer. It is beneficial to work on yourself first, before applying to work with a team to grow a company. The steps may seem tasking, but it takes deliberate/conscious effort to  achieve your dream, so start today. Know your passion, set realistic goals, learn from experts, do research, do a lot of networking, and most importantly improve your personal brand... then you can go job hunting.

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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