12 Tips for New Grads on Networking, Careers, Finances, and More
May 28, 2015
Congratulations Class of 2015! You’ve worked hard to achieve your educational goals and you’re just about there. Wrap up your last few weeks before graduation and prepare for the next phase of your life by checking these important items off your to-do list.
1. Identify Potential References
Future employers may ask you for professional references, so start preparing your list now. Ask your instructors, counselors, internship supervisors, and others who are familiar with you and your work if they’re willing to speak on your behalf. It’s much easier to track everyone down now, so get it out of the way now to save time and effort later on.
2. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
It’s always important to have an updated resume and cover letter. If you’ve just graduated college, you’ll need this to find a freelance or full-time position—whichever you’re looking for. For those of you just entering college, you’ll need these documents when searching for internships, summer and part-time jobs, or supplemental freelance projects.
3. See What Career Services are Available
Check to see what services are offered by the Career Services team at your school. You may be able to get assistance in preparing for your career with a number of resources, including seminars on resume and cover letter writing, a database of employers who have hired students and alumni, one-on-one mock interview training, portfolio show opportunities, and support in finding jobs, internships, and freelance opportunities.
4. Buy a Few Professional Outfits
Whether you’re interning, interviewing for a full-time job, or even just heading off to college, it’s important to start building a professional wardrobe that makes you feel confident and successful. Head to the mall and find a few outfits that you can wear to interviews or other professional events and networking opportunities.
5. Ask Lots of Questions
You’ll soon be starting something new. Maybe you’ll also be living somewhere new. It’s natural to have questions – no one will expect you to know everything, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or for more information. Asking questions also shows a desire to learn and the ability to take initiative, so just go for it!
6. Join an Alumni Network
When you’re graduating, it’s important to find out how alumni from your school stay in touch. This could be anything from a LinkedIn group to an online networking community. Fellow alums can be valuable connections who may be able to help you professionally or just offer friendship and guidance as you pursue a career, move to a new city, or make other big life changes.
7. Find a Mentor
Get your future off to a great start by finding a mentor who is willing to support both your personal and professional development. Having the help of an experienced professional to guide you down the right path can be invaluable.
8. Create a Realistic Budget
You’ll likely be supporting yourself after graduation, so, if you don’t already know how, you’ll need to learn how to make a budget and stick to it. Write down all of your fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, car insurance, groceries, public transit, and anything else you pay monthly. Subtract the total amount of your expenses from your total net income to see how much you have left for extras each month. (Want more on this topic? See our blog on common financial missteps to avoid.)
9. Clean Up Your Social Media Presence
Look at your social media pages from a potential employer’s perspective. Is there anything on there you wouldn’t want your future boss to see? Enable privacy settings to keep that content under wraps. Delete anything that could harm your reputation. Keep your publicly available content strictly professional.
10. Stay in Touch with Your Peers
Don’t let this month end without getting the contact information of classmates you really respect or have enjoyed spending time with. Stay in touch by exchanging phone numbers and email addresses, or connecting on social media.
11. Say Thank You
Don’t forget to thank everyone who has helped you to reach this big day. As you move forward, continue to thank those around you who provide you help and support along the way. Those who feel appreciated are likely to stick around and be there again when you need a hand.
12. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
Achieving any academic and professional goals takes dedication and effort. When you reach a big milestone, like graduation, reward yourself with a little downtime and celebration with friends and family!
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