You did it! After all of your hard work, you have finally graduated! Although many high school graduates immediately head off to college or university, some decide to get a job. You may eventually return to school after you’ve saved some money, or you may decide on a different path. However, the million dollar question is, “Is it possible to get a good job right out of high school?” The answer is that it is possible, but it’s not easy. There are a lot of applicants for every job opening and many will have some post secondary education. However, you can still compete with a high school diploma. Here are some tips that will give you a bit of an edge:
Be realistic. It is not reasonable to expect to be offered a high level job right out of high school. You need to work hard and prove yourself to get those types of positions. Think of your first job as the stepping stone that you will use to launch your career. If you get an entry-level job in your dream organization, or even dream industry, you are off to an amazing start.
Use the career counselling centre at your school. Talk to a counsellor about your career options. They may be aware of potential opportunities and they might even have connections to employers. It can also be helpful to have someone review your resume and practice interview questions with you.
Have a personal vision. What is your goal for your career? Where do you see yourself in five years? How will the position that you are seeking help you achieve that goal? Employers love to hire candidates that know exactly where they are going and have a plan to get there.
Network, network, network! You hear it again and again; you have to build your network. Meet people and let them know who you are and what you are trying to do. You would be surprised by the number of professionals who are willing to take the time to help youth. Since most people get hired through somebody that they know, networking is probably your most important job search activity.
If you have made the decision to start your career without any post secondary education, then you have not chosen an easy path. Some doors will be closed to you and sometimes you will be frustrated as you watch people less skilled than you are get selected for positions over you. However, there are many employers that value ability, attitude and experience over education. The key is to get an entry-level job at one of these organizations and then work hard and let them see how amazing you are! Good luck!
(Written by: Karen Bivand)