Congratulations to all the graduates! And a special congratulations to all my Tay Tung high school batchmates from Bacolod City. Yahooo! =] After all the sleepless nights doing projects and graveyard duties, you can finally taste your sweet victory.

I’m sure you’re getting mixed feelings now. I felt that before. Happy to finally see the results of my hard work from school. Sad to be parting ways from college friends and college life. Lost because I am not sure what to do next. Afraid of what lies ahead of me.

So allow me to share my thoughts, hopefully you guys will enjoy them. πŸ˜€

Principle 1 – There is No Post-Graduation Rule

Okay, so your friend was immediately offered a job after graduation. Cool. But don’t get pressured. There’s actually no rule that says you need to get a job after graduating. And unlike what other unemployed fresh grads brand themselves, you are not a bum even if you don’t have a job.

I was actually pressured when I was about to graduate because I thought I “need” to move on to the next level which is to get a job. But the next level doesn’t necessarily mean getting a job. There are a ton of other options, like getting a masters degree, being an apprentice, going into sales and a ton of other things which we will discuss later.

Principle 2 – Don’t Let Others be the Driver of Your Life

As teens, young people or fresh graduates, we often cannot answer what we really want to do because we have yet to discover it. Or even more common, we became a different person in order to please our family.

You enjoy playing basketball but mother made you play the violin, you enjoy arts and craft but dad wanted you to enroll in car mechanics, you want to take up engineering but took up nursing. Well, that’s normal.

You took up “appropriate” courses / hobbies. You did what was “expected”. But often times, you might think in the back of your head if you have made the right decision.

It’s also possible to “think” you like doing something because everybody expects you to like it. Here are some things you’ll notice if you really like doing something:

  • You’re excited to wake up in the morning, very energetic and you never want to take a rest.
  • You easily forget about the time when doing it.
  • You can talk about it for hours and you usually browse the internet or magazines for topics about it.

Principle 3 – Discover Your Passion

To discover your passion, you need to stop doing things out of habit. Eliminate some of the useless things from your routine so you can see clearly on what makes you happy. And most importantly, try out new things! How will you know you are not a good speaker, if you’re afraid to try. You might even discover that you love speaking and connecting with your audience.

Listen to yourself. Next time a little voice speaks out to you saying “This is exciting. I love doing this.” Listen! Try out new things! Some things to start on:

  • Try cooking or culinary
  • Learning to play the guitar
  • Singing in a band
  • Oil Painting
  • Learning a different language. French maybe?
  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Blogging
  • Making videos for YouTube
  • Drawing comics
  • Acting in Theater
  • Selling Real Estate
  • Teaching and educating others

Principle 4 – Discover and Sharpen Your Talents and Skills

I loved singing when I was growing up, but most of the time, my friends would tease me for having such a horrible singing voice. And so over the years, I believed them. My reality was that I was a bad singer but one time during college, I went karaoke singing with a well known singer here in Cebu.

I was just singing for fun and told her that I had a horrible voice. She listened and told me that I can hit some tunes correctly and my voice wasn’t really that bad. (And mukhang d naman siya nambobola Haha.) Just needs further practice and a good selection of songs. After that, I had a paradigm shift and my confidence in singing has since gone up, although just a little bit. Haha.

Anyway, talent doesn’t necessarily mean being able to sing like Sarah Geronimo, play basketball like Michael Jordan or golf like Tiger Woods. It could be simpler than that. Teaching is a talent. Being able to communicate well is a talent. Making people feel comfortable is a talent.

Now if you know what you want in life and know your talents. Then hone it! Capitalize on it.

Principle 5 – Embrace Failure and Commit Healthy Mistakes

As I have shared before, my mom always tells me and my siblings that we should commit all our mistakes as early as possible. Being a fresh graduate is a good time to commit mistakes as your bosses will be more patient with you. Of course, there is a limit, just remember to learn from the experience and grow from it.

Read my post here for a more detailed explanation on self-growth.

Principle 6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Take Calculated Risks

This one works hand in hand with committing healthy mistakes, because of not being afraid to fail, then you can take more risks. One very good example was the time when I had a big break in my web design business, I was talking to a big client who demanded a number of features for his website which at that time, I was not sure how to do it. But I confidently said yes, I can do it.

That commitment pushed me to learn more through online tutorials and I finished the website on our agreed date. It was a good feeling. And it wouldn’t have happened if I stayed in my comfort zone and told him that I didn’t know how to do it.

If a great opportunity comes up but you’re unsure of your capabilities. Don’t fret! What’s the worst thing that could happen? Failing and learning from it.

Principle 7 – Your Course Does Not Define Your Career

When I was about to graduate high school, I had a hard time choosing what course to take up. There were so many choices and honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. In the end, I gambled with Information Technology which was a pretty good choice because I am enjoying my web design business. But sometimes, it gets so repetitive that I get bored.

Then I have realized that I am genuinely happier interacting with people than my computer. So I began to branch out to event hosting and even selling because through that I would be meeting different kinds of people and connecting with them. Now I can really say that I want hosting as a profession. I’ve even integrated it to my web business because through such events is where I get my clients.

A lot of successful people too have different courses or started out in different industries until they found the one where they stayed for good. Just remember the most important thing is that you enjoy and love what you are doing.

Job Hunting Guide

Okay, so you’ve finally decided to get a job. The economy now is very unstable so there are fewer jobs but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one. Here are some good tips:

Start with the basics:

  • Create a Resume that stands out. Here are some tips.
  • Understand what makes you stand out. If I’m the employer, why should I hire you compared to the hundreds of people also applying for the job?
  • Research the company you are applying for. A simple Google search will give you the results you want. You want to know the companies objectives, mission especially if you reach the interview portion. The employer would give you extra points for your genuine interest in helping the company.

Finding the job opportunities to apply for.

  • Check the classified ads in the newspaper. I know it’s basic but it’s because it still works.
  • Search Google for companies near your place, get a contact person and ask them if there are any openings. Who knows, they might be looking for someone but just haven’t had the time to make an ad about it.
  • Some online job sites where you can apply:
  • Attend and take part in Job Fairs. There are a lot of Job Fairs usually organized by industry categories. Like Hotels and Tourism Fairs, or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) fairs.

Craigslist is highly recommended because I have a friend who was given an Apple Mac Pro computer by his employer from Craigslist. Read my story here.

Other Career Opportunities

If You’re having a hard time getting a job. Don’t fret! You might want to consider these other opportunities:

  • Be a Salesman. Advantages:
    • You own your time. No time in and time out in the office.
    • It offers high potential return from low capital investment.
    • It’s also fun as long as you understand that selling is helping people by giving them things that they need.
  • Make money online by blogging. Yes. It can be done in the Philippines. A lot of Filipinos have already earned thousand of dollars through the internet.
  • Try out Multi-Level Marketing (commonly known as Networking). Not all networkings are scams or pyramiding. There are legitimate ones and if they have a good product, the passive income potential you can build is big.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, we are all unique and will have different paths. Even different timelines. Others might build their empires in business while others may be happier working at a simple farm. Whatever your decisions are, just continue to follow your heart, be passionate in what you are doing, don’t compare your decisions with others and I wish you guys all the best.

I leave you with a quote from Andrew Mathews:

Doing What You Love is Not a Recipe for an Easier Life.
It is a Recipe for an Interesting Life.
You’ll Take on More Responsibilities and Problems.
But our Mission in Life is not to be Without Problems.
Our Mission in Life is to get Excited!

Congratulations again my friends and congratulations to all the graduates of 2009! Phew. That was a long post. I hope you guys like it.

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Do you have other tips to share? πŸ˜€