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Photo credit: Student Affairs Marketing

As this year’s graduating class of Wildcats prepares to begin a new chapter, we’ve collected some parting words of wisdom from alumni and our own NCA staff to help guide them in their professional pursuits.

Whether you’re beginning a new job, graduate school, or another career endeavor, like public service or a fellowship, we encourage you to take these 10 tips wherever you go. (Curious about where the undergraduate class of 2016 is now? You can find that here.)

First, we asked five members of the NCA team to share their advice for new graduates. Here’s what they had to say:

Geni Harclerode, Director of Employer Recruitment and Engagement, on asking questions and building connections while on the job:

Remember your first 6 months on the job will be a huge learning curve so give yourself permission to be curious – asking a lot of questions is a sign of interest, not weakness, and people are going to want to help! Cultivate your professional network and pay it forward by answering questions of current students when they reach out.

Matt Formica, Assistant Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in Medill), on applying your Northwestern education and experiences to future opportunities:

You’ve been given an amazing opportunity by receiving an education at Northwestern. I would encourage you to leverage that opportunity not only for your own personal and professional fulfillment, but also to make a positive impact on others.

Laura Myers, Associate Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in SoC & Bienen), on allowing each new opportunity to inform your career path:

It is completely OK if you still don’t have a clear idea of how your career path will take shape. Please remember that your first job is not your last job, and each position you have will be a learning experience to help you figure out what you should do next.

Larry Jackson, Assistant Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in McCormick & WCAS), on considering your long-term career goals:

The days of staying with one company one’s entire career have passed. Consider pursuing opportunities beyond your first job that will allow you to continue building relevant skills and experiences to help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Jeff Jenkins, Senior Assistant Director, Career Counseling Team (serving students in SoC, WCAS, Bienen & SPS), on staying true to yourself:

Keep what you value in front of you as your guide. If you feel you are being asked to compromise what is important to you, have the courage to do the right thing.

Similarly, we collected five quotes from past #TakeNUToWorkDay alumni Twitter Takeovers, NCA’s virtual job shadowing program. When asked, “What’s the best career advice you’ve received?” here’s how our alums responded:

Derek Tucker (McCormick ’15), FCB Global:

Jo Lee (SESP ’14), HackerOne (FuelX during the time of this Twitter Takeover):

Natalie Bortoli (Medill ’98), Chicago Children’s Museum:

Victor Shao (WCAS ’13), DoorDash:

Andrew Christy (WCAS ’14), Alzheimer’s Association (ALS Association during the time of this Twitter Takeover):

So, there you have it! We wish our graduates much success in their next opportunity. It won’t be long before we’ll be asking you to share your best career advice for new graduates! Congratulations, class of 2017!