Why It's Totally Okay To Not Land Your Dream Job After Graduation

by Chris Walker

Congratulations! After countless papers, presentations, 8 am classes and thesis statements, you've finally made it: You’ve reached the pinnacle of your young adult life by graduating from college.

This is indeed an important moment in your life, and you shouldn’t let anyone diminish it.

… Now’s the part where I diminish its significance, at least partially.

You see, having a degree does indeed give you a leg up on getting your first job outside of college. But, you’re sorely mistaken if you think you’re going to have a job related to your major right off the bat.

Sure, there are some who win the lottery.

You’ve heard their stories; they interned while in school, made great networking connections and found their dream jobs ready and waiting for them after tossing their tassels to the other side of their graduation caps.

But, that’s not the typical story for most grads. The reality of the situation is that Millennials graduating from college are having a harder time than most (save for teenagers perhaps) in getting hired.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in the 20-24 age range are currently experiencing a 10.4 percent unemployment rate. That’s a huge burden to overcome.

Having a college degree will help, but you should keep in mind it won’t land you the dream job you've been hoping to get since you picked out your major (even the second time you picked it).

That job is already filled, or if it isn’t yet, tons of people besides you are applying for it, many of them with years of experience to back up their applications.

But keep your chin up; things do get better with time. Millennials between the ages of 25-34 have an unemployment rate more comparable with the national average, and many who can’t find work are creating their own.

Others with college degrees are finding opportunities that are outside of their majors, becoming successful in ways they never imagined while in school.

How do I know this? Because it happened to me.

Right out of college, I expected my degree in political science to get me a job in state government as a legislative aide.

When that didn’t pan out, I thought that surely, my journalism minor would help expand my opportunities.

Instead, I found a job in customer service — and then telemarketing — and then research.

I did eventually find a career, but not the one I was expecting. Instead of poring over legislation or sifting through city council minutes, I began a career in sales.

And you know what? That’s okay. In fact, I found out that I’m pretty good at it.

It’s enjoyable, it’s challenging (but not overwhelming) and I engage with people on a daily basis.

That’s everything I wanted my career to be when I was in college, just in a different place.

Your education will be a huge help for you in landing a job. But, much like getting into college in the first place, your life story and experiences will also help guide you to a job that you’ll love.

And like me, you might find a career you’d never expect to find yourself in.

If asked me 10 years ago if I wanted a job in sales, I would have laughed at you.

Then I would have put my nose back into a book on economic theory and walked away… probably still while laughing.

Today I can’t imagine walking away from my job. And while I can’t say for certainty that I’ll be in the same position 10 years from now, I can say that if I’m still working where I currently am, I’ll be happy.

My degree played a huge part in getting me hired, but not in the way I thought it would.

Experiences in college and beyond helped shape what kind of worker I am today. The combination of the two will help you as well.

My advice is go after your dream, but keep an open mind. You might find something equal to or even better than what you had originally wanted.