If this topic was presented to me a few months ago, it would have been extremely difficult for me to contribute as I had just graduated and not sure what to expect in pursuing a career. However, after several failed interviews and other job search experiences, I would like to share what I have learnt with those who might be facing a similar transition.
To begin with, it is necessary to have a clear self-knowledge, able to identify your characteristics, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly your goal in life. This self-understanding would then help you to gradually find the career path that you want to pursue, such as the industry, the working environment, the company culture, as well as the city to relocate, etc. When this ideal career fit has been sketched out, the job search process will start.
During the job search process, select the positions that are more related to your ideal career fit. It is crucial to thoroughly check the requirements for those jobs, identifying the skills you already possess and the ones you lack of. It is then important to design a schedule to improve on these needed abilities, and update the CV as you progress. Doing so would improve the chances to obtain an interview.
It is important to practice potential career and academic questions before an interview. It is okay to mishandle an interview, as the practice and experience are beneficial from an unsuccessful interview.
During this metamorphic transition, it is okay to be optimistic but should also crucial to have a mental preparation for the worst. Frustration, solitude, depression, exhaustion, and other negative feelings could be frequent visitors. It is important to stick to the schedule, if necessary, take a part-time job to keep occupied. In my opinion, luck plays an important role during the job hunt.
You could ease this transition process by starting earlier, such as participating in an internship or co-op program during your senior years in University. The experience could help you to identify your career fit quicker, and contribute significant during the job search once you graduate. Furthermore, networking with alumni would also help to adjust and adapt more smoothly during this transition.
Remain humble when starting a new career as there are enormous amount of knowledge that you need to learn, new people to meet, and new environment to adapt to. This does not necessarily mean that your personality and abilities should remain covered, but finding a modest approach to express them.
Most importantly, keep in touch with your family and friends as they are the ones that you could share your thoughts and burdens with.