Top Five Career Tips for College Graduates

Graduation season always sneaks up on me, probably because my life is measured in .25’s now instead of semesters. When I graduated from UGA (GO DAWGS!) five years ago, I remember thinking how strange it was that I was expected to enter the real world with no real path laid out for me. Where is my guidance counselor? What are my required courses? After five years at Jackson Spalding, I’d like to share a few things I know now that I wish I knew then.

You’re rarely going to be the smartest person in the room, and that’s a good thing! It means you’re in the right place because when you stop learning, it’s probably time to move on to something more challenging.

Ask questions! Questions are not admitting defeat. They show you are engaged and invested.

Come with solutions. Some of the best advice I have ever received was from one of our founders, Bo Spalding. He told me that I should never be afraid to ask questions, but that I should always try to come up with my own solutions first. Not only does it show that you’ve taken the time to think through the problem, but it will help you get ready for the day when you’re the one making the decisions.

Make your own path. While it’s scary heading out into the real world with no one telling you exactly where to go next, it’s also kind of awesome. Jackson Spalding embraces this notion by not having titles, which isn’t common for an agency. You produce your best work when you’re able to follow your passions.

Test scores and grades aren’t everything (they’re still important, though!). Hard work and a smile will get you a heck of a lot further than anything you learned from a book. Good grades will get you in the door, but after that you need to prove you can apply that knowledge to help your company. Our generation is fighting the dreaded “millennial” label, so more than the generations before us, we have to prove we’re willing to go the distance to produce quality work.

What are some things you wish you’d been told when you entered the working world?