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Emily Bennington

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The Worst Career Advice Continually Given to College Seniors

Posted: 04/22/10 11:34 AM ET

It's graduation season and you know what that means, right? More unsolicited career counsel from people like me. Does it ever just start to sound like white noise? If so, tune it out.

That's right.

There's really nothing new you can learn at this point, and most of the advice is just warmed-over versions of the same old stuff you've been reading for years anyway. Honestly, do you really need to be told - again - what not to post on Facebook? If you want to upload a photo of yourself downloading dinner in the back of a cab, go right ahead. No one will notice and, if they do, they'll probably think it was as funny as you did when you sobered up.

While you're at it, hit the diner at 3am and be sure to chase your sugary cocktails with caffeine and bacon. What's another five pounds when you're already sporting the Freshman 19? (See, you're overachieving already!) Besides, it's not like they're grading you on appearance in the interview or anything.

But don't get too fat, though, because that would defeat the whole purpose of looking hot at work. Ladies, are you with me? The best way to be taken seriously in a professional setting is to look high maintenance, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing your killer "Girl's Night Out" dress in the office. (Just be sure to tone it down with a blazer or something, okay?) And fellas, business or not, if a coworker catches your eye in that dress, by all means point it out in front of as many colleagues as possible. Trust me, she'll view it as a compliment.

Also, if you're still hunting for post-grad jobs at the moment, don't settle for anything too entry-level. Recession or not, you've just spent four years and five figures learning how to be a leader and deserve to flex those skills from day one. That means no data entry, no errands, no taking messages, and absolutely no refilling the copy paper. 72% of the American public doesn't have a college degree, so let them fetch coffee. That's not why you went to school.

Likewise, your compensation package should adequately reflect this new graduate status. Depending on your degree of course, you can expect to start somewhere in the upper five figures with rapid advancement opportunities and a performance review in six months. By the way, if there's no mention of your work space during negotiations, don't worry. Your new team wants to surprise you with an office on your first day. (Shhh.... That's a newbie secret you did NOT hear from me.)

Finally, be aware that your new company should have prepared for your arrival in detail so you will most likely have a thorough orientation outlining your specific responsibilities. Once you're ready to hit the ground running, though, you'll be assigned a mentor who will show you the ropes and take a personal interest in your success. P.S. If you're smart, you can have her job in two years. Welcome to the workforce, baby!

 
 
 

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