During the last post I mentioned that degrees do not equal employment. This post will outline two other things to keep in mind if you're a recent graduate.
2. Potential does not equal production
Knowing that you can handle a particular position or task is good. That being said, knowing or thinking you can do something and having experience doing it are two different things. Employers want to know that the time and money they're investing in you is going to worth it. Depending on the kind of work you're applying for you might want to make a portfolio of your work (even if you have to create items to showcase what you can do). Alternatively, internships, if available, are an excellent way for potential employers to get to know you, how you work, and what you're capable of. Internships also give you the chance to get to know a potential employer.
3. Graduation does not mean the end of work
Those entering the workforce in the last 10 years or so have an unfortunate reputation at times. Many relatively recent graduates seem to think they're entitled to things like raises, promotions, extra perks, etc. when they haven't put the time or effort required to get those. To avoid this particular pitfall, be particularly professional and have discussions with your supervisor about what is expected of you. Make certain they give you concrete items that can be gauged. In other words, your boss telling you to "be professional" is not particularly helpful. Instead they should tell you particular behaviors or actions that you can take and can be witnessed: "wear a tie," "arrive at meetings before it is time to start" - these are things that can be witnessed and later can be resurrected by you to say, "I've met and exceeded your expectations of me." Another way to avoid the stereotype that a boss may have towards recent graduates is having realistic expectations. You will most likely start at the bottom (or near it) and you probably won't be the Vice President of anything in two or three years. I had a coworker introduce me to a new employee as the "Vice President of Coffee" once as a joke, so there are exceptions (after that, every time I saw the new employee with coffee I would say, "Let me know how that is . . .").
The truth is, wherever and whatever you are called to, even if it's just a temporary position until something in your field comes along, do it with the same hard work and attitude that you would if God himself was your boss (Col. 3:23).
Mark Stevens is a former seminary student himself and currently researches and teaches in the area of theological studies.