Have you ever been to see a film that you have waited what seems like an age for, heard masses of hype about, then you’ve been phenomenally disappointed by? Or queued for hours to buy something in the sales (Boxing Day anyone?) then found you can’t get in or everything you want has gone because there were so many other people doing the same? Sometimes we get lucky but sometimes we have to be a little patient and show some resilience, change our plans, or maybe even think of other ways to achieve our end goal.

Many of you will have in mind your dream job, or at least an idea of the level of organisation you wish to work at. That’s absolutely fine and it’s always good to have end goals, but it’s important to take a realistic approach as to how you’re going to get there. The reality is that your first job is unlikely to be perfect. Even when you get a job you’re hoping for there may well be elements that aren’t quite what you anticipated. This is perfectly normal. As with the much looked forward to film, the more we build up things in our heads the harder it is for those things to match our expectations.

How to avoid disappointment

First, accept that whilst you wish to reach for the stars it may take a little time to get there. Also, don’t focus solely on the big name employers – remember there is huge competition for these employers and whilst we’re not saying you shouldn’t apply to these organisations, remember that other organisations may offer you equally valuable experience. You may even find you enjoy those roles more and that the experience you gain may well lead to you an experienced hire role at a big name later on in your career.

So stay positive even though you may not get your dream job as quickly as you hope. This is very, very normal (however much it may appear to the contrary here at LSE). Remember you only need one ‘Yes’! Try not to get demoralised and keep an eye on the bigger picture. You’ll get a job eventually and in ten years this period will all be a distant, vague memory. If you get downhearted, or start churning out large numbers of generic applications, you’ll hamper your chances of success far more than if you stay resilient, positive, and focused.

Be realistic about your new job when you get it

Of course we hope you enjoy it, and most of you will, but that’s not to say that everything will be perfect. It’s good to get excited when you get a job offer and, if you have done your pre-application research well, it should be a good match for you and your skills. However, it is just a job! There will be ups and downs, as with anything else in life, and you need to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. You may have periods where you are very tired, things may not always seem as easy as you expect them to be, and in some cases things won’t go according to plan. The key to career success is understanding this is normal, and likely to happen, and staying positive and resilient throughout. Remind yourself why you wanted the job in the first place and what you’re actually getting out of it, how it fits into your longer term plan, and that you’re not going to be doing it forever.

Look after yourself

Whether you’re searching for your job, or have started it, make sure you keep some time aside for you. Do things you enjoy whether it’s playing a sport, going for a run, watching films or TV, reading, cooking – whatever relaxes you the most. It can be difficult when you’re busy with all things careers related but this is vital to keep you relaxed, balanced, and able to deal with whatever comes your way!

Good luck and remember we’re always happy to chat to you here at LSE Careers!

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