All too often, we get so wrapped up in the excitement of college life that we put the job search on the back burner. But wouldn’t it be better to have a job or at least job prospects up even before graduation, so you can focus on completing your classes and experiencing your last moments of school? ” The process of finding how exactly to put that education to good use is easier than you think, and it can even be a lot of fun. Keep on reading for our 7 post-college career tips that you can do today.
1. Assess Yourself And Your Interests
Sure, we all know that business major who stayed with the same course path he had since freshman year. But so many of us change dramatically over four years, and we need to re-assess our ambitions. If you ever feel as though your major isn’t truly what you picture yourself doing when you’re out in the real world, talk to someone you trust (such as a counselor, a parent, or a best friend) to re-assess what you love and are good at. After you’ve got your core attributes/aspirations down, take a few aptitude tests online, such as this one from The Princeton Review. It may feel slightly disappointing at the moment you’re changing paths (as it can feel when we set out to do something but change our minds), but it’ll be so much better to have a degree and take classes about something you’re truly passionate about. Pinpoint your skills and desires now so you can decide exactly what kind of work you’re meant to do.
2. Do Your Research
Now that you’ve delved a little deeper into what you’re going after, it’s time to hit the books! But you needn’t visit a library to get the 411 on your dream career. Just look on Youtube, hit up some career-based Spotify podcasts, or just scan a few websites about the field you’re interested in. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself hesitant to work in a field that you initially thought you’d love. It takes full knowledge of the ins and outs of your intended job to lead you towards a career that has the best potential to fulfill you.
3. Edit And Print Your Resume
Let’s be honest. Most of us have a resume sitting on our computer just begging for a makeover. But for those of you who have yet to write one up, all you’ve got to do is find a clean resume format (we recommend looking on Google, Pages, or Canva), fill out your info (name, phone number, email address), add a brief bio, and list your work experience. Most employees can scan resumés within a few seconds, and they need to see what you can offer their corporation. Therefore, experience supersedes skills! We often overlook our odd jobs when looking over everything we’ve done, but there’s likely a lot that we (as well as our resumes) are missing. Think hard about any extra volunteer or babysitting jobs you may have done over the years (or even get a friend to help you keep track) and put every little thing down. After you’ve run your resume through Grammarly and triple-checked for accuracy, print out a few copies just to have on hand (you never know when you’ll need it)
4. Make a Binder Of All Your Accomplishments
We hope you’ve still got your printer ready for this next section of our post-college career tips. Retrieve any proofs of accomplishments or credits into file form on your computer and place them all in a binder. Examples of such achievements include awards, copies of articles or photographs you’ve published and of course, a copy of your university diploma. Not only is this activity great for your post-college career, but it’s also wonderful for your self-esteem. By providing proof of exactly what you can do, you give both yourself and the world a platform for success!
5. Clean Up Your Online Image
Now that we’ve discovered your most prominent skills and interests, let’s focus this next part of our post-college career tips on projecting that part of you (aka the best part) online. In this media-based age, any given employee will inevitably google your name at some point, and you don’t want to give them the wrong impression! To start giving your internet image a professional polish, first go through each post and photo and ask if you’d want an employer to see it. Go through everything: Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat (less likely for an employer to scan but better safe than sorry), and quadruple-check that everything accurately represents the kind of driven individual that you are. If you can, get a friend to take a high-quality headshot of you with a real camera, and update your profile pictures on all of your platforms.
6. Create (Or Update) Your LinkedIn Profile
While we mean well, we can only give you so many post-college career tips. LinkedIn, on the other hand, may just be what you need to make the connections and find your ideal career. LinkedIn (if you don’t know) has a similar format to Facebook, only instead of friends you make “connections”, and instead of memes, people post business news and accomplishments. However, unlike Facebook, you can send personalized notes with your “connect” request. Chances are you’ll have far more people accepting connections than denying them, as wider professional networks will only benefit everyone involved. By creating or updating your LinkedIn account, you’ll be well on your way to a great career.
7. Reach Out To Professionals
Now that you’ve started (or expanded) your LinkedIn Network, it’s time to put yourself out there! We can offer all of the post-college career tips we could think of, but if you don’t ask for advice and guidance from those in jobs you may have someday, we may as well not give you any of them. Luckily, in this digital age, finding people (aka possible mentors) who are willing to shed light on their prior experience is easier than ever. One easy way to start your search is by finding recent articles or blogs online or in magazines, and seeing who wrote them (this can apply to photographers and chefs as well, as their work is often featured in editorial works). Then, type in their name into LinkedIn (or any other search engine), look for the person that most resembles the author and write them a note or email. Keep it short, polite, and professional.
Example: “Hello! My name is (blank), a Journalism sophomore. I could be mistaken but I think I saw your article (insert title) in the October issue of (blank). I enjoyed it! Could we possibly connect or exchange emails? Have a great week.”
More often than not, professionals are flattered by such recognition and jump at the opportunity to connect with aspiring employees. So, get out there!