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  Age: 23 Graduation Date: 2013 Major: Law School: University of Warwick, UK Current Position: Legal Advisor  

Q: What was your biggest fear about leaving college and entering the “real world”?

My biggest fear about leaving college and entering the real world was that I wouldn't be able to make it on my own. Throughout my life, I was guided by parents, teachers, and lecturers alike... but once I left formal education, my success (or failure) was resting solely on my shoulders.

Q: What five words would you use to explain your job search as a recent grad?

Competitive, exhausting, surprising, hopeful and focused.

Q: What is it about your situation now that makes you a happy grad?

I realize how much my education and college degree have helped me grow and mature enough to survive and thrive in this big bad world. I secured my dream job straight out of University, am no longer living off noodles, and am really enjoying life as a 'young professional.'

Q: What are the best things about your current role?

The best thing about working as a legal advisor for such a well established company is the challenges I face every day when I arrive at my desk. Since I started my role 7 months ago, I have been exposed to such a wide variety of legal issues and areas that I could never have [thought] possible when I was at college. My opinion is always heard and considered, and the responsibility I have been given (even as a recent graduate) motivates me to strive for further success.

Q: What advice would you give recent grads today about leaving college, and finding a career and life they love?

Planning is key. It is hard during college when you have to think about studying and submitting papers, but planning where you would like to be/what you would like to do is the best way to achieve your goals. Motivate yourself to do some research and make yourself known in any way to the companies you think you would like to be involved with in the future. It is true that a job is a job in today's economy, but a job you love could mean a job for life.

Q: What are some of the best things about being a recent grad?

The best thing is the excitement of what is to come. I have only just begun my working life and there is so much left to experience.
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.