What I wish I knew…before entering the workforce

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After college, I thought I finally had it made! I was entering the workforce with my business degree in hand. Everyone could use a business major in a business amiright! I had good grades, made dean’s list my final quarter! I had even worked throughout high school and college at various positions. Now, it was time for my hard work to pay off! Who wouldn’t want to hire me…in a small town…in 2009…when the economy was worse than it is today…Oh boy, I was in for a shock. There were many things I wish I knew, or thought I knew.But, as many things in life, this too was a learning experience.

Your degree is not as cool as you think

That, is a tough one to absorb, and accept. It was tough for me too! I had worked hard for this degree! I had certainly gone into a lot of debt for it too! Now, I’m not saying don’t go to college. Most jobs require a degree before a hiring manager will even look at your resume. That’s the thing most jobs require a degree. Thus, many high school graduates will go on to college for that reason. The workforce is pretty saturated with college graduates. It’s unusual now to not have a degree. Unfortunately, your degree isn’t that cool because everybody has one. Now jobs that don’t even use college level skills, require a degree.

Sometimes that degree, might hold you back

This is not necessarily the end of the world. However, at times it can make things more difficult. The workforce can be a fickle place. I mentioned this before, when I got into the workforce, there were two things I didn’t want to do, sales and retail. During college, I had worked as an administrative assistant, and I had the required experience. I was thinking I could either work my way up in said company (since I had a business degree) or just have that job tide me over until the economy improved. They didn’t need to train me much, I thought it was an easy in. Boy,was I was wrong.


I was thinking ‘I have every qualification on their list plus some, I should be a shoe in.’ However, the fact that I had a degree, applying for a position that did not require one, made me appear overqualified. Hiring managers thought I was going to hit the road once the next best thing came along. I was literally asked this twice in one interview. Though I tried to convince him otherwise, I did not get the job. That’s not all bad though. This indicated two things to me about the company.

  1. There may not be much room for advancement within the company. If there were, they would be more excited about what I bring to the table, and my willingness to work for that company,starting at the bottom.
  2. He was not very in touch with the current economic situation. There were no jobs in my field, and still weren’t when I moved, two years later. So, no, I wasn’t going to jump ship, because I couldn’t afford too.

The Recruiters

When you first graduate, and you change up your linked in profile to reflect that; you may get a few phone calls from recruiters. Maybe even before you officially enter the workforce. That’s awesome! Someone took note of your resume! They just found you on linked in from a friend of a friend! I’ve had my fair share of recruiters call, and nearly all were for the same type of job, sales. Recruiters saw my degree, and were on me like white of rice. However, I spent a little time working in an office with financial advisors. I learned that was not the career path I wanted to go, and I also learned how the industry really worked. Out of curiosity, I went to an interview for an insurance sales position for the following reasons.

1.  To brush up my interviewing skills,

2. Were they were going to be transparent about what the job really entailed. The interviewers were somewhat transparent, but there are some additional factors to take into account:

Why you’re getting the call

  1. Many recruiters for sales positions love hiring people right out of college. They are easy to train to their liking since they don’t have any ‘baggage’ from other companies. That inning of it self isn’t a bad thing, everybody’s got to start somewhere 🙂
  2. Unless they say otherwise, these are sales positions. You will be expected to sell insurance or whatever the case may be. You may be called a financial advisor, but your job is to sell. (Honestly, you don’t even have to be good at math. I met a few that weren’t. Again sell, sell, sell!)
  3. If you do not meet the sales quotas set forth by your manager, you will be fired. There is a 90% turnover rate in that industry. This is why you may get contacted by several recruiters. They don’t tell you that in an initial interview.
  4. You may have to put a lot of your own money into your ‘business’. It is your own business, which someone else can fire you from…and you work for someone other than yourself…It’s not really your own business, you work for someone else.


Nothing against sales jobs. They just are not my cup of tea, but I know many who enjoy sales and make a lot of money in that industry. I’m just saying know what you’re getting into with it. The recruiters are very good at selling the job. I’ve met some that are not always honest. Remember, recruiters have numbers to meet. If this is what you want to do, more power to ya! However, I just want you to know what exactly you are getting into.

How do I land a job after college?

You need to be more than just your degree.

1.Consider an internship. That is a great way to both beef up your resume and get your foot in the door with a company. My brother was hired right out of college for the company he interned with. Even if you realize after your internship, that you don’t want to work for that company (or maybe in that industry either). The internship still looks good on your resume. See if you can get some transferable skills out of the deal too 🙂

2.Don’t forget to network! I know that can sound intimidating, but a good resource is parents, and teachers. Colleges will provide many networking opportunities as well 🙂

Going into the workforce out of college can be intimidating! I know it was for me. But, it can be done! If I can do it in a brand new town, it can be done 🙂


Welcome to My Career Journey! I use my very unique career path to help you grow your business and career!
I’ve lived in seven different states over the past ten years. That’s a lot of jobs! Different industries, and different work cultures! Both good and bad 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to helping you grow!
college, job, work

6 thoughts on “What I wish I knew…before entering the workforce

  1. Oh boy. Tell me about it. That’s just not right when they say a degree will help you and yet they won’t hire you because of it.

    1. Erika, I know! Its super annoying!I had times I had to take it off my resume just to be considered 🙁

  2. Amazing post! Great information, very useful! Thanks for sharing!

    Rita | http://www.styleroundtheclock.com


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