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So, you’ve earned your diploma at American National University. What’s next? Are you working a minimum wage job and now looking to use your education for a better career? Are you looking for the next raise or promotion? We know that graduation can not only be rewarding, but it can bring upon a great deal of confusion—what can I do with my diploma? We have some tips that will hopefully ease the never-ending questions that may come of the future, especially some advice on what you should do to plan your future career.
Develop a Timeline
The first thing you should think about is the long-term, because, sadly, careers do not happen overnight, and they require a lot of time investment to get to success. Where do you hope to be ten years from now? What is a goal you can achieve within that time? What do you need to do in order to reach those goals in that timeline?
To develop a timeline, you should do a self-assessment. What are the skills you have from your education? If you earned your MBA, is accounting your strongest asset? If you earned your pharmacy technician diploma, does patient management come easiest to you? If you earned your medical billing and coding diploma, are insurance claims your forte? Reflect on your educational journey, see where your strengths lie and search for jobs that you use those specialties. Maybe you’ll work better in finance with your MBA; maybe you’ll do best in a retail pharmacy where you can speak to patients directly as a pharmacy technician; maybe you can find a medical billing and coding job within a hospital to use your skills with insurance claims.
Research Your Dream Careers and the People in the Industry
The best part about technology is the fact that you can Google anything, and you can reach out to almost anyone. Utilize resources like LinkedIn where you can connect with other professionals in your field. Reach out to them, ask them what they did to reach their success, ask them for advice—it doesn’t hurt to ask! Along with that, research the industry—where can you get entry-level jobs? Where can you advance? What do you need to become successful in that market? Ask every question you need to develop your career plan.
Build a Network
Following that, you can also use LinkedIn to build your network of career professionals. A lot of the times, jobs require a good network to get anywhere. Be sure to develop relationships with your classmates so that you can collaborate with them after graduation and help each other boost your career journeys. Ask your professors for mentor help—our Global Learn™ initiative was created so that you learn from the experts and from professors who have vast knowledge and experience within that career—utilize them! And consider interning for companies within your industry—some internships may develop into full-time careers, and if they don’t, you at least have created more allies to add to your network!
Consider Furthering Your Education
At ANU, we have developed Stackable Degree programs so that you can effortlessly earn all the way up to a graduate degree. You can move from a Paralegal certification all the way to an MBA, or from Medical Assisting to Medical Health Services Management (or an MBA!), or even Network Support all the way to a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Your options at ANU are limitless and furthering your education can become another steppingstone to your dream career.
Be Flexible and Be Patient
As mentioned before, career planning is years of build-up until we get where we want to be. Gone are the days of one job = one career, now many people are saying “12-jobs, four-careers worklife.” And to do that, you must have patience that one of your jobs will lead you to one of your careers in the long run. It is a waiting game.
That game also may have bumps in the road—your interests may change from when you initially made your career plan, or maybe the market changes. Along with that, no one can predict the future—you may want to start a family, or you may already have a family to care for, and anything can happen within a long span of time that your career simply has to wait on, say an illness, or a death, or a move. That’s why you must stop, reassess, recollect, and keep moving. You cannot expect to stay on a rigid plan when nothing in the world is ever set in stone.
Utilize Our Career Services
At ANU, we offer all of our students the benefits of our career services department. Our director of career services, Wendolyn Larkins, can be your lifeline when it comes to career planning. She can help you create or adjust your resume, give you interview preparation through mock-interviews, give you career advice, or even automated job alerts sent via text or email. No matter where you are in your career, you will have access to the full range of services that ANU Career Services provides. To learn more about what career services offers you, go to an.edu/career-services.