The weeks before a student’s college graduation can be equal parts exciting and terrifying — as college seniors eagerly prepare themselves for life in the real world and their first jobs.
“What you study is not necessarily where you’ll end up in life,” notes Malena Higuera, the senior vice president of marketing for L’Oreal Paris. Higuera was one of the guests at a recent panel entitled “How to Get Your Dream Job — The New Success Secrets for 2015” hosted by Glamour magazine.
Other guests on the all-star panel included “Transparent” star Gaby Hoffmann, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and the best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner.
We’ve rounded up some of their best advice for new grads:
How to choose the right career path: “My only ambition was to be happy, and to do so, I knew that I had to act,” says Hoffmann. “I needed to know myself and figure out what I really wanted. I didn’t do anything for a while and then started taking every single job. This is when I realized that acting was what made me happy and where I wanted to be in life.”
Look to learn on the job: “I started at a crappy newspaper where I would cover every single thing for two and a half years before I decided to leave,” recalls Weiner. “This experience was the best I could have ever had because it gave me the foundation of my actual job. My advice is to start small so you won’t get disappointed later on.”
Embrace the teachable moments: It’s especially important, says McCray, to “push past your comfort zone and get out there. Make mistakes. You’ll learn from them.” Weiner echoes the sentiment. “You are going to learn from bad experiences so don’t be scared to take risks,” she says.
Special honors: Glamour magazine also honored NYU junior Mansi Prakash, who was declared the grand prize winner of the magazine’s Top 10 College Women 2015 contest. Prakash’s nonprofit “Brighter Today” is working to bring electricity to every home in India by sending environmentally friendly lightbulbs to small villages.