Commencement 2017

Strauss: Your first job out of college won’t be your last. That’s a good thing.

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The culmination of many students’ college careers will come in the form of an email or phone call with a job offer. Students prepare for four years — sometimes even longer — to land the job of their dreams. But sometimes, that dream job never calls — at least not right away.

Not every student graduating from college this year will love their first job. But here’s the good news: It likely will not be their last.

Job hopping is becoming the new standard for millennials, especially right after graduation. The average millennial worker will change jobs four times within their first 10 years out of college, according to a 2016 study conducted by LinkedIn. This means millennial workers are changing jobs at a much greater frequency than the rest of the workforce.

It may seem this is just happening because millennials are unsatisfied with their jobs. But the truth is, job hopping can be very good for a young career. Moving jobs can help workers advance through the ranks to better positions, earn more money and find new opportunities that are closer to one’s dream job.

Yes, many companies aim to promote employees and retain talent. But others look to hire from outside the company and move new employees into higher positions to gain their talent.

Today, young job seekers are also entering a diverse job market, which makes it difficult to figure out exactly what they want to do right away. The workforce and job market are changing. There are a wide variety of tools that enable people to search and apply for jobs at a click.

At the same time, companies across every industry are scrambling to implement programs that retain young employees by offering them new opportunities, said Michael LaMarche, assistant director of the career center at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

“The keyword here is mobility,” LaMarche said. “Companies want to move employees horizontally and laterally throughout the company.”

Large companies are shifting their resources to offer young, motivated employees more opportunities to move into different roles internally. Students entering the workforce can use this to their advantage by leveraging job opportunities outside the company they work for.

There are two major trends in the job market driving these trends. First, there is a wide network of tools that job seekers can take advantage of available online. LinkedIn has expanded its suite of services to cater more toward job seekers, and there are dozens of other job search platforms such as Indeed, SimplyHired and Glassdoor.

Second, employers are reacting to young employees’ tendencies to move from job to job quickly. To retain young talent, large companies are creating global mobility programs, which provides employees the opportunity to work in different departments across the company. In essence, employees can seek out new jobs inside the company they already work for.

This is encouraging news for the college graduate leaving school with a job they don’t like. But college grads entering the workforce must understand that regardless of new tools and programs, the market is still highly competitive. Technology has allowed our generation to become the most skilled workforce in history. There are now more ways than ever to receive a higher education, creating an abundance of qualified candidates competing for the same jobs.

In the end, it’s essential to remember that experience is the most important quality graduates gain from their first job. Although this job may not be exactly what they want to do, it should be viewed as a small piece to a much larger puzzle. First jobs are essential stepping stones to forging a path for getting that dream job.

The best thing anyone entering the workforce can do is be open to new opportunities — and to never stop learning. No matter what a graduate’s first job out of college is, they can certainly learn from that experience. With a little faith, persistence and a dedication to never stop growing, eventually that dream job will call.

Daniel Strauss is a sophomore entrepreneurship and finance double major. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at dstrauss@syr.edu and followed on Twitter @_thestrausss_.

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