The reality of entering the real world is a huge obstacle for recent graduates as graduation season comes to an end. Searching for a job, paying bills, and transitioning into adulthood can be a thrilling, yet frightening experience. Jasmine Tate, Community Engagement Coordinator at Inland Empire United Way in California, shared her story of the start of her career.
Jasmine graduated from Southern Louisiana University (SLU) with a B.A. in Communications. During her time at SLU, she founded a chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Soon after, she obtained a Master’s in Public Relations at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), and served as President of the USM PRSSA Chapter.
Jasmine has been working at United Way since November. In the role, her primary responsibilities include new business development, special events, and account management. New business development requires her to work with new companies, establish relationships, and nurture past relationships.
At the end of her graduate career at USM, Jasmine sat down and made a list with three categories. The first column included all the things she enjoyed about the roles and responsibilities she held in the past. The second column included the tasks she did not like, and the last column were tasks she did not like, but she knew she would have to do no matter what.
“From that list I was able to figure out what area of PR I wanted to work in, which was community relations,” Jasmine said.
Once Jasmine clarified her career goals, she began to seek jobs in her desired field. She quickly realized that knowing what you want to do is great, but there can be many paths to get there.
“I would say don’t look for the job title, but look more at the responsibilities,” said Tate. “Although my title says that I am a development executive, I still get to do all of the things I love about PR. Some of the things I do aren’t event listed on my job description.”
Jasmine graduated from USM last May, but still faced obstacles with finding a job. She began applying to jobs at the beginning of the semester and remained confident that she had the skills and knowledge to obtain her dream job. Although she was facing challenges with finding a job, she remained patient and took advantage of the down time.
A tough challenge we all face as new graduates is being asked the big question, “What’s next?”
“When people ask, I would say, ‘Well I just earned my Master’s degree in PR and I am looking forward to starting my career. I am now seeking opportunities, staying involved, and networking with professionals’,” Jasmine explained.
During a panel discussion with the National Millennial Community at the Google Headquarters, Jasmine recalls a panelist saying, “It is okay to chase your dreams, but chase your dreams intelligently. Don’t be very picky with everything that comes along.”
She also recalls an executive at ESPN giving this advice to the Community: “Take the first job you get, learn as much as you can from your experience, and then move into the job that you want because you don’t want to get your dream job and screw up.”
“Once I heard that, it kind of put things into perspective for me because I heard her say that along with many other professionals,” Jasmine explains. “But I think that when you know what you want and what you can do, it is okay to not accept the first job that you get because you don’t want to be stuck.”
Jasmine advises rising seniors to “make sure you have a plan and don’t wait until the end of your semester or quarter. You definitely want to start applying early.”