For new grads this spring, here are some tips that helped me step onto the career track:
1. Be open to unexpected opportunities: Be sure not to have a narrow view of your career options. There are so many different opportunities that it's important to cast a wide net when applying for jobs. And if the first job isn't a great fit, learn everything you can and look for another position.
2. Keep learning: Your first job may not be perfect, but that's okay. Just make sure you continue to soak up new information. It's critical for new grads. Through the LEAP program at Fidelity, I've learned about testing foundations, how to use different technologies within the company, and how to learn from peer resources. Now I'm tackling things I never dreamed of doing, like testing APIs and databases that help millions of customers retrieve their personalized data in seconds.
3. Embrace life beyond work: I stayed busy with sports, volunteer work, and other extracurricular activities in college, and that continues today. I coach basketball—girls in the 8th and 9th grades. Basketball is a passion of mine and a great way to stay in shape and shake off the work day. Being work-driven is good, but you need outside interests as well. Otherwise, life gets dull!
4. Invest in friendships: I stay in touch with college friends far beyond Facebook. Yes, we all get busy, but when you can, go see your friends for dinner, a movie, whatever. A call or text goes a long way as well! Maintaining close relationships and being a good friend is a big part of being happy.
5. Celebrate small successes: Some usability tests we do at Fidelity pass and some don't, and that's just par for the programming course. When things do go well, it's satisfying, and I like to take a moment to relish that feeling. It reminds me why I gravitated to this kind of work in the first place.
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