Whenever I hear some poor graduate moaning about how little he or she gets paid, I tend to roll my eyes.
I'm not completely heartless. I can appreciate the fact there are some jobs, industries and careers that just don't allow graduates to earn much more than minimum wage.
However, I don't believe all graduates should be oppressed by the minimal pay standards set by their predecessors.
Know your worth.
No matter how young or old you are, your current situation is a reflection of the effort and work you have put into yourself and your career.
If you've just graduated from college and thought, "Great. This article will help me find a dream job that pays well tomorrow," then I'm sorry. This may not be the quick fix you're after.
If you're still in undergrad, however, these tips will undoubtedly help you stay one step ahead of your classmates.
Here's my advice for undergraduates or anyone wanting to do a career U-turn:
1. Give up your free time to learn and up skill.
You don't have to quit your day job.
But, you will have to give up some of your social time to pursue pro bono work or attend additional classes, seminars and guest lectures.
If you're really short on time but eager to learn, check out Udemy's online courses.
I'm not just talking Facebook.
I'm talking real-life, face-to-face interactions with human beings.
If you're given an opportunity to attend an industry function, volunteer somewhere or join a specialist networking group (e.g. Young Entrepreneurs or Women in Engineering), be open to it.
Make sure to load up on business cards that have your contact details and LinkedIn profile address.
3. LinkedIn is your friend.
Make sure your profile is up-to-date and professional.
If you need any tips on how best to update and maximize your LinkedIn profile's potential, check this article out.
4. Invest in your CV.
Your CV is your first impression, so you need to make sure it represents you, your key strengths and competencies well.
First, make sure you get the basics right by having at least two people proofread your CV and cover letter before you send them out to potential employers.
Second, use your judgement when deciding whether you should send a creative, outside-the-box CV or a clean, traditional CV.
For example, if you're looking to work in a creative industry, I would lean more toward a creative CV.
5. Be open to new challenges.
Sometimes, people get paid the big bucks to work in industries that are perceived to be less glamorous than others.
If you can pick up a 9-to-5 job that pays 20 or 30 percent more than your fellow graduate friends' jobs, it's worth sacrificing a big brand name or a fancy job title.
Don't be deterred by an industry or a role just because it's not something you ever thought you would do.
Usually, these jobs are the ones we learn the most from.
Remember: You can always use your extra cash to invest in a side gig that lets you work in a space you're truly passionate about.
6. Think big. Then, think bigger.
I can't stress how important it is to believe in yourself, your goals and your worth.
Without self-belief, the rest is all just background noise.
If you're truly committed to making a decent salary and building a fruitful career in your chosen field, you should have absolutely no problem doing so.
Set goals, and write them down.
Visualize yourself achieving those goals, and work damn hard every day to get there.