After contemplating what the point of going to college was, I decided I needed a reality check. I wasn’t going to let myself become another statistic – another person who attends a four year university and leaves with a heap of debt instead of a job that jump-starts their career.

The first few months after college were fun. I thoroughly enjoyed being a recent-unemployed-grad. “I’ll get a job right after summer.”

A year later, and I was still working at a coffee shop. It was hard not to compare myself to my other colleagues who were working their dream jobs – at Sony or Yelp.

I knew I had to redirect my energy. I had to open myself up to all the potential opportunities – internships, temp positions, mentoring, self-promoting, etc. What I learned next was eye-opening. If an opportunity doesn’t initially exist, you can create one for yourself. When you invest in yourself and your work ethic, the result is powerful.

You have to start somewhere, and the first place you should start is where your resources take you. If small opportunities come your way – hell, grab em’ by the balls! Show the world how valuable you are and make your future employer say “I need that person to work for us.”

Here are five things you can start doing to turn your temp position or internship into a full-time job:

1. Take initiative. Chances are your boss or superior is busy working on a project or report with a deadline. Taking initiative will not only boost your confidence, but it will impress your boss. This quality separates the hustlers from the wanna-be’s. The people who go the extra mile and take on challenges are the ones who usually succeed. Next time you have a task at hand, think to yourself can I figure this out on my own? Can I at least try? Even if you don’t succeed, your efforts will indefinitely be recognized. It’s better to try and fail then to not try at all. No matter if the task is big or small, taking initiative makes you stand out!

2. Know when to take responsibility and apologize. It’s never fun admitting you messed up – actually, it kind of takes a little jab at your ego. Pass the tissues, my ego is crying. But in all seriousness, no job is gonna want to see people pointing fingers. All they care about is that whatever incident took place won’t happen again. If this includes you saying the s-word and taking the blame for something you didn’t necessarily do, then so be it. And if you did make a mistake, then you definitely need to be able to own up to it and apologize. People don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be professional. And even though your ego might be a little bruised, your employer will respect you more than if you threw someone else under the bus or played the blame game. So put your big-girl pants on and know when to say sorry. You don’t want to be left unemployed singing J-Biebs song.

3. Ask questions. Remember when we were kids and our teachers told us, “no question is a dumb question.” – well that’s debatable, but when it comes to your career, asking questions is extremely beneficial. How are you supposed to know how to do something if no one has shown you? Sometimes, it’s necessary to ask questions. Try not to feel embarrassed or intimated to the point where you hold questions back. In the long run, it’s better to get all your ducks in a row instead of making mistake after mistake. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you truly don’t understand something. Asking questions also shows that you want to learn. Who doesn’t love an employee who’s invested in their work?

4. Learn how to be decisive (trust your gut). Don’t fall into the habit of second-guessing yourself or selling yourself short. When it’s game time, athletes don’t second guess their moves, right? So neither should you. Learn how to trust yourself in the work environment – even if you’re intimidated. By all means, feeling confused about an assignment is all right. You can ask questions to clarify, but don’t get stuck because you’re scared you’ll make the wrong decision or you work won’t be good enough. If anything you’ll learn from your mistakes. Trust your gut! You got this! And if all else fails, fake it till you make it. 

5. Treat it like a real job. Showing up late or ignoring deadlines isn’t going to get you very far. Make sure you’re aware of your rules and responsibilities and then stick to them. Treat your position with respect, even if it’s not exactly where you envision yourself. Sportscaster, Erin Andrews offers her inspiring insight, “Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t look back.” So don’t feel discouraged if you’re not working your dream job quite yet. Just keep reaching for the stars – you’ll get there. Time and patience are your new best friends. If you put in the hard work, there’s no doubt you’ll succeed. One of my biggest inspirations, Sophia Amoruso suggests,“You don’t get taken seriously by asking someone to take you seriously. You’ve got to show up and own it.” Another reason to treat your position like a full-time real job! #dothedamnthing

Many of us are under the impression that only a small percent of college graduates become employed. Fortunately, Forbes writer, Jeffrey Dorfman, is here to set the record straight, “As of the January 2017 report which contains numbers for December 2016, the unemployment rate for college graduates was only 2.5 percent.” This percent breaks down to 1 in 40 college grads. You actually have a better chance of catching a STI than staying an unemployed graduate… not sure if that’s helpful, but it’s true! 

The point is, that even though you might not land your dream job straight out of college, you can still gain experience in other ways. Don’t focus on the end result so hard that you can’t figure out where to begin because you are too overwhelmed. You have to start somewhere! And remember when you do get an opportunity, refer to the five ways to turn it into full-time position!

Let me leave you with some advice from my all time #girlboss idol, Amoruso, “Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer,” (unless we’re talking about sex – then definitely listen to no). 

Now go out their and conquer the work force future entrepreneurs. You got this!