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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Effective Bridge Strategies for New Graduates and Entry-Level Professionals

New graduates and entry-level professionals face a critical transition in their lives progressing from university to securing their first official paid job in the real world.

The transition can prove to be an overwhelming one for several reasons. New graduates want their first job upon completing their college or university studies to have particular meaning. This makes logical sense since they have dedicated at least three to four years of solid academic experience or more with a Master’s level education. The academic process involving countless hours of studying and a post-academic rigorous job search process requires focus, patience, and determination. Often, new graduates are looking for their most “perfect job” – that not only aligns with their passion and purpose, but enables them to grow within an innovative organization.

While it is very possible for new graduates to secure a rewarding position in their field, career development and progression does not always follow a linear path.

Consequently, new graduates may face unexpected surprises about the nature of their work due to a lack of experience or limited experience along with misperceptions about the workforce in general. Typical scenarios include, in some cases, a misalignment with the workplace values, the organizational culture, or even limited prospects or opportunities for growth. Their level of expertise may also be considered by employers to be too specialized or too broad. New graduates may discover that they may need to return to school for further education in order to address a skills gap and keep up with innovative and changing technology.

While their first job following post-secondary graduation may prove to be a relatively good fit, the level or standard of expectations of new graduates/entry-level professionals are steadily increasing. The world of work has changed immensely, as well as how we navigate our job search and manage our career progression. Further, the focus on building relationships throughout the years of academia sometimes get placed on the backburner.

Tapping into the hidden job market and conducting thorough research and career planning about targeted roles, companies, and industries, however, serves as the critical piece to executing an effective job search.

The Use of Bridge Strategies Employing effective bridge strategies will ensure success and solidify professional relationships.

  • Entrusting the assistance and support of a mentor within an internship or mentorship program is very helpful for transitioning into the new world of work

  • Talking with the employer about receiving constructive feedback on work performance and areas of improvement

  • Offering assistance with extra work projects, both independently and in a team, can increase skill sets and build strong working relationships

  • Keeping the resume portfolio polished and updated at all times, including their achievements

  • Striving for continuous professional development by monitoring current industry and field trends by joining related associations and groups

  • Updating knowledge with education, certifications, and courses to keep your brand and skill sets fresh

  • Becoming more involved in the community with volunteering initiatives or community leadership can address those gaps in positive growth, learning, and achieve social responsibility while fueling new interests

  • Continuing to network on LinkedIn can help build relationships with field-related professionals and garner effective leads and resources

So new graduates and entry-level professionals – even if the first job that you land proves to be challenging, the best decision may not be to leave the role immediately before conducting a through assessment.

Rather observe, record, and monitor your progress. Note the patterns of what works and what does not work for you. Keep yourself updated on labour market trends and changes in your field and industry. Take risks. Build vital skill sets. Learn from your mistakes, and welcome new opportunities for growth. Most of all -- believe in yourself and your abilities!

The actions that you take now to improve your marketable skills and gain value-added experience while building supportive networks will likely deliver fruitful results for your career success.

For more information on employing meaningful career strategies, contact Lori Jazvac, Certified Resume Strategist/Career Consultant at 905-730-2374 or email

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