Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

You have achieved a significant milestone.

And now more than ever, the world you are inheriting needs you. It needs your intelligence, talent, leadership, and perseverance.

I have been watching with pride the virtual graduation videos and pictures of my clients and friends… and also watching with some tears. I watched a video of a grad on his front lawn donning his cap and gown, waving to the car parade celebrating his achievement as tears were streaming down his face. Joy, disappointment, and ambivalence about the future all at the same time.

This is tough. 

There is no perfect advice or path to take. As Walt Disney shared,

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” 

Here is my advice for the Class of 2020:

Eye on the prize. It may feel very hard to motivate right now. However, you need to think about the end game. This is not going to last forever. What do you want to do with your degree? Your life? It may take longer to get there than you thought, but you can get there.

As Katie Couric shares,There may be days when you’ll say to yourself, ‘I can’t. I literally can’t even.’ But you can! You can even!” 

Look for the Opportunities. This pandemic will force all of us to think and act very differently. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle to your future, see it as an opportunity. Problems need to be solved. You can be the one to create a solution or help someone with an idea to bring it to life. 

Uber, Groupon, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Venmo. What do these companies have in common? These companies were born during the recession of 2008….and we rely on them to solve everyday problems. You may need to shift your direction slightly but there are opportunities.

Differentiate yourself. 4 million grads are entering the job market this month. Many will have similar degrees and similar resumes. The job market is competitive and now more than ever, you need to find a way to stand out. The grads who get hired are the ones who can demonstrate their value and show how they can solve a problem for a business. These grads understand their own skills and can easily translate their experience to how an employer can benefit from these talents. 

But for many grads, this is difficult. School has not taught you how to “sell yourself” to an employer. For the last five years, Next Great Step has been helping grads to differentiate themselves and land the job they deserve. We are helping recent grads to lead in this market and support companies to achieve their goals.

As the great Michael Jordan said:

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

The path may not be what you predicted, but you have talents that the world needs. We are in this together. Let us support you and help you take your “next great step”.