Baby Steps: What to Do After Graduation
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First, everything seemed kind of light and calm. There wasn't anything really difficult that had to be done. Most of the action seemed effortless. Then it changed abruptly. There were countless unknown periods of intense pressure that alternated with odd times of calm -- the dark times seemed to markedly outweigh the times of relative peace. Things became really, really hard. Somehow, just when you thought you couldn't stand it anymore -- swoosh -- you were through. Done.
No, not born. You graduated from college, dummy!
Luckily for you, you have a lot more input into your plans after this process than you did in your earlier, similar one. Even if you aren't exactly sure what to do next, there are experts to consult. You can even delay the process by deciding to continue your education at the graduate level. You can take baby steps as you enter into adulthood, the real world and begin your long-dreamt-of career.
- In a recent article, "Three Million College Grads Looking for Jobs, One Million Jobs Available, Be the One-in-the-Million! With Graduation around the Corner, Motivation Pro Helps College Grads Ace Job Interviews" PR Newswire's Dr. Michael Provitera identifies self-motivation as one of the primary factors that promote success in any endeavor. The first step for a college graduate, he advises, is to "know the industry." This includes current events, overall trends, hiring patterns, starting salary expectations and what some of your interview questions will probably be.
- Next, Dr. Provitera tells graduates to "be your own image consultant." This recommendation includes "present[ing] yourself positively as someone who is on top of your game." He encourages graduates to literally develop "a 30-second commercial" of their qualifications -- ready for recitation as needed during a job interview or even just an introduction to someone in the industry.
- Tracking your progress is the motivational expert's third recommendation. This includes relating your GPA, academic successes and classes to the specific requirements of the position for which you are applying and the overall needs of the industry. If you are unable to relate significant academic successes, emphasize related experiences or consider embarking upon an online degree program and working strenuously so that you'll have academic success of which to boast. Or follow Dr. Provitera's next recommended step and "tell a story" that underscores your leadership or teamwork capabilities.
- On NetworkBloom.com's Network Tips page, Steven Rothberg provides a wealth of networking advice to college students or recent graduates in his piece, "Networking for College Students and Recent Graduates: Top 7 Steps You Can Take Now." He suggests individuals volunteer, intern or "adopt a mentor" to shadow throughout the workday. Every handshake is a contact. Every contact adds a node to your growing network web.
- Even as a new graduate, you can still be an active alumnus. Join and become active in any university-based professional organizations. Make use of any networking possibilities offered by your college's alumni association. Invite a professor for coffee and just listen and learn.
- Also, don't neglect the infinite networking potential of the Internet. Creating your own blog, for example, could open you up to an entirely new audience of potential professional contacts, as could growing your own social media presence on sites like Twitter and Google+.
A stork didn't deliver your diploma and one won't fly by with your dream job. Establish a LinkedIn account or update yours to reflect your current job search. Yes, you're a college graduate and your efforts are to be congratulated. But you don't yet know everything. Find experts, listen and learn. You'll no doubt eventually end up following the right path for you thanks to your education and your own post-graduation efforts!