Attention fresh graduates – are you confused?

Attention fresh graduates – are you confused?

I began studying at Australia’s University of Canberra in 2001. I was excited about my course, making new friends and discovering the campus, and even in my first month there, I dreamed of graduation day. I’m sure you did too, it’s one of the most memorable days in any student's life.

However, most students study so hard to reach that day that sometimes they forget to focus on an equally important question … "What's after graduation?"

In the last 12 years, I have spoken to thousands of new graduates, and have found a number of things they often have in common:

1. They are not yet sure what they want
2. They are trying to figure out what comes next
3. They are acting on their parents’ advice

Nothing about that is wrong - I, too, experienced 'FGC' (Fresh Graduate Confusion). I was confused about whether I should:
• Ask for high pay because I was on the dean's list and my parents spent a lot of money on my education
• Do what I love to do
• Should I work for an established company or a start-up
• Look for a job in my field of study or experiment with something new

The best career advice I got was from my senior, who told me to do something outside my comfort zone. I asked him “why?” and he replied “why not?” I had no answer for that.

It made me think that, really my 20s were the time to experiment outside the box because I’d be less likely to take risks later in life.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology, so my inclination was to apply for IT jobs like most of my friends did. Instead, I took my senior's advice and gave the sales and marketing industry ago, starting as a self-employed independent contractor within the Appco Australia network.

Talking to computers versus talking to people was a 180-degree change, and I immediately began to develop new skills – both professionally and personally.

For anyone pondering their next life move, my advice is to try something new, look beyond your own experience and go beyond your comfort zone. I was an entrepreneur at age 22 and haven’t looked back once.

Benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone
1. Humbles you immediately
2. Helps keep your student mentality alive
3. Diversifies your strengths
4. Helps you acquire new skills
5. Develops you as an all-rounder

Vishnu Annapareddy, Centurion Organisation, is a partner to Appco Group Asia, conducting face-to-face sales and fundraising for Appco’s clients in both Malaysia and The Philippines.