Have you ever found yourself in a really bad situation that you could’ve avoided if you had taken action at the appropriate time? If your answer to that question is yes, you can easily recall the thoughts that crept into your mind. Angst, regret, dread and fear all run through you making your stomach drop to the floor.
I’ve found myself in that situation multiple times, but there is one particular time that stands out above the rest. I’ll never forget that day - May 8th 2011, the day after my college graduation.
You want to talk about contrast? The day before I walked across the stage of Mount Union’s indoor rec facility, swaggin out each step as 3 basketball courts full of family and strangers looked on. I felt that rush, you know that high you only get when you accomplish a monumental task. Seconds later I proudly shook hands with the president and grasped the piece of paper that represented my ticket to the working world. It was the best day of my life. May 8th was one of the worst because it brought with it a sudden realization - I had no place to cash in that ticket.
When I graduated from college I wasn’t ready for the real life. I wasn’t responsible. I did not have it all together. I hadn’t come anywhere close to preparing my mind for the shift required by adulthood.
All I wanted to do was continue to live the undergrad life, which for me consisted of performing a minimal amount of work, partying and drinking with my friends.
But what you want to do and what you need to do are often different things, and what I needed at the time was to find a job. To obtain one I’d have to shift my mindset. If I wanted to be successful reality required me to transform from the kid who could barely make it to a 9 am class to a hardworking, dedicated 8-5 employee.
During my college years I didn’t put myself in a position to fulfill the latter part of that previous sentence, so on the first Monday following graduation while my friends and classmates who had their lives together went to work, I sat at home browsing the internet trying to find a job. I felt worthless, dumb, insecure and I hated myself for not taking the necessary steps to prepare for what was required of me.
You might be reading this post and thinking – “ok but what does this have to do with me?” I’m glad you asked. If you’re a college student, pause for a moment and take inventory of where you are in your journey. Maybe just last week you sat in a classroom thinking – what am I doing here? Perhaps you’re halfway through a major you just realized doesn’t align with your passions at all. Maybe you’re a few classes short of graduating and feel totally unprepared for the working world. Or if you’re a recent grad, much like I, you might have made it through college by the slimmest of margins.
If any of these scenarios feel familiar, you know the anxiety that accompanies the thoughts. In any of these positions, you may find yourself constantly comparing your accomplishments to the people around you only to learn – what you’ve done just doesn’t measure up.
Or perhaps you find yourself on the other side of the equation. You made the most of your time as a student and hit the ground running. Maybe your biggest concern as a young professional is figuring out how to level up.
Whatever the case may be, we have something for you. A means to add tools to your professional toolkit. The kind of tools that can help you finish college strong, find an internship or a job and level up once you do.
Wherever you are in your personal journey, there’s always a next step for you to take. To prove the point let’s perform a little exercise.
Write down the average salary for an entry level position in your field. Then write down what you want your salary to be. If you don’t know where to find this information just go to glassdoor.com.
As an example, let’s say the average starting salary is $35,000 and you want to start at $40,000. The gap between where you are and where you want to be is $5,000, a pretty substantial gap and I’ll explain why.
If you accepted a job at a salary of $35,000 and after 1 year on the job you get a 5% raise due to excellent performance. A 5% raise on a salary of $35,000 brings your pay to $36,750. However, if you negotiated and obtained a starting salary of $40,000 – a 5% raise on a salary of $40,000 increases your pay to $42,000. Now, you may view that as only a $250 difference and think – what’s the big deal?
The starting salary at your first job will play a factor in every raise you get over the course of your career. Employers raise salaries incrementally, and fair or not raises are largely based on your previous salary. The higher your initial salary, the higher your earnings with be over the course of your career. In time, having the ability to negotiate that $5,000 increase in your starting salary can compound into hundreds of thousands over the years of your career. If you’re not equipped to negotiate your starting salary, you’re paying a cost of $5,000 today and thousands of dollars down the road.
When I graduated from college I expected to walk into a 45,000 entry level accounting job. Instead I ended up making less money than my mother who didn’t even have a college degree. Through favor, and skill development at the time of this post I’ve more than doubled my starting salary.
In our new e-book - The Career Takeoff we share exactly how we obtained internships and negotiated salary raises, tips you can use in your own situation right now.
The same applies to you. Think about your salary or earnings for the last year. Now think about what you want your salary to be. For example, let’s say your salary was 40,000 and your next goal is to make 50,000. The gap between where you are and where you want to be is 10,000. You’re paying a cost of 10,000 every year you do not solve this problem.
In The Career Takeoff we also explain how we closed the gap to get to a desired salary range. All that and more is detailed for young professionals.
Here at the Talented 6, we live by the words – Learn Together, Grow Together, Build Together. When we graduated college we weren’t equipped with all the tools needed to reach the heights we aspired to. Over time we developed skills and competencies that allowed us to make up ground very quickly. We want to pass our knowledge on to you. To help you fast track your development. To help you peek around the corner of your career and know which way to turn.
We designed The Career Takeoff to assists you with learning specific tactics and tools that will in-turn unlock new opportunities for your career. This e-book will facilitate professional growth by taking you inside the mind of recruiters and employers. It will expand your skillset by adding decades of knowledge from people who have been where you are. Through engaging posts, word for word scripts and easy to duplicate examples this e-book gives you everything you need to reach the level you aspire to.
Now is the time to make a decision. You can continue to develop at your current rate, or you can fast track your growth. You can progress at the same rate as your peers or you can go past them.
If you want to put yourself in position to get the job or raise that you feel you deserve you’ll need help from people who have been where you have been and beyond. Don’t choose to guess when answers are readily available. Members of The Talented 6 have obtained over 30 combined years of working experience. We’ve risen from entry level positions to management. We’ve doubled and tripled our salaries. We’ve aced interviews and internships and we’re sharing everything we’ve learned with you in our soon to be released e-book The Career Takeoff.