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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aim high and you might surprise yourself - Tips from a first-class graduate and published author

Today we have a really inspiring blog from Michael Tefula, successful author with his first published book 'How to get a first' 

I started my accounting and finance degree at the University of Birmingham with a wild goal: to graduate with a first-class degree. Some of my friends sneered at the thought - “a first? Impossible!”. After all, I had the memory of a fish, went out a lot, and rarely came across as someone who could spend up to 12 hours in a library revising. But after three years of hard work, I surprised some of my friends and myself by graduating with not only a first, but also with the highest marks in some modules.

It is intimidating and perhaps even somewhat embarrassing to aim high, but if you aim for something average and common, that is exactly what you will get - average and common.

If, on the other hand, you aim for something grander, then you could end up working harder and doing much better than anyone ever expected.

Here is another example that reiterates this lesson. In my second year at university, I applied to lots of internships so I could get work experience. I had a few interviews with a number of large and highly competitive firms but failed to land a job with any of them.

Luckily, my application to a particular mid-tier firm was much more successful and I happily took on the role for a summer placement. While I found the experience immensely valuable, I soon discovered that I was better suited to a different career. One I had read of, and spoken to other interns about. So at the end of my internship I took a big risk and turned down a guaranteed job in pursuit of a more lucrative but even more competitive position within the same organisation.

Unfortunately, my pursuit ended with a failed final interview. It was then that I decided to aim even higher by applying at a larger, more prestigious and competitive firm. Having been through numerous application processes and interviews, I was much better prepared for this round of assessment. With a bit of luck and competence, I landed an even better job, surprising friends who thought me mad for having turned down a previously guaranteed job offer while the UK was in a recession.

Kanye West once remarked, “reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud”. In my journey from a student to a graduate, then to a young professional, and most recently to a published author, I have learnt that living by such a statement can propel you to achieve a number of highly sought after aspirations.

What I’m I driving at? Here are some practical scenarios for you to ponder:

Found a dream job but afraid to apply because of the competition? Apply anyway and worst comes to worst, you will get experience from it to use in your next attempts.

Want to take a year out to travel around the world but can’t afford it? Make it a goal. Find temporary employment. Start saving and you will eventually earn your way to it.

Do you have dreams and aspirations which you are too embarrassed to declare? Share them with a mate and consider ways you could achieve them before writing them off.

Ps. Feel free to share your dreams in the comments below.
Find Michael on twitter @getafirst and his book on Amazon here.

Hope you find this blog inspiration. If however, you haven't got a clear idea of what you want as a career. Don't panic, here is something that will help you answer the dreaded question: I have a degree, now what? 
and if your marks have unfortunately not been the highest, again don't worry, We can advice you on how to job hunt if you get a 2.2 

Best luck to you all soon to be graduates from the TARGETjobs team.