Spring is a busy time for soon-to-be college graduates. From wrapping up classes, celebrating with friends, and preparing for the future, graduating college is a huge milestone. With any large change, like the shift from student to young professional, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. You’re probably thinking about your future with questions like Where do I begin? What’s next? and Can I do this? Not to mention the added stress of securing student loan debt relief. As someone who recently experienced the uncertainty of post-grad life, I’m here to offer a few career tips for college grads.
Career Tips for College Grads
It’s natural to be unsure about what steps to take after graduating college. You’re in uncharted territory, after all. For many graduates, this is going to be your first “real” job and first go-around with money management. Here are some career tips for college grads that will help you better prepare for the real world, and hopefully find the job best suited for you.
- Update your résumé. This is your chance to showcase your academic and professional background. Make sure that your résumé is thorough and accurate. Also consider having someone proof read it for you.
- Invest in a few key interview outfits. Stick to neutral and professional pieces that will be sure to impress. Creating a professional wardrobe on a budget isn’t as hard as you think.
- Research proper interview etiquette. Details like cover letters, thank-you emails, and follow-ups are small, but can make a big difference in getting ahead of the pack.
- Assess your skills. Your skills can be a variety of traits that you think will best enable you to do the job. Skills can range from strong communication skills, for example, to proficiency in editing software, and anything in between.
- Do a mock interview. Prepare some answers to common interview questions such as strengths, weaknesses, background experience, and what best qualifies you for this job.
- Keep track of where you apply. Yes, applying to a number of places is great, especially with streamlined “one click” application process. But make sure you stay organized and avoid confusing different positions.
- Be prompt. Respond to recruiters and Human Resource representatives in a timely manner and always show up early. On the other hand, if for some reason you can no longer make your interview, it’s courteous to give as much notice as possible.
- Research the position. Do some research into the job you’re applying to including the company, the position itself, qualifications, responsibilities, etc. Preparation coupled with enthusiasm is a good mix. You should make sure this job fits the wage or salary you need to manage your finances and student loan debt.
- Secure references. Be it a former employer, a favorite professor, or anyone who can speak to your work ethic and character, references are important. Not to mention it always helps to have someone you trust put a good word in.
- Be proactive and prepare questions for interviews. Showing interest and initiative is a great way to impress your interviewer. Ask about their expectations, day-to-day responsibilities, office culture, any potential challenges, as well as what they like most about the job.
- Be honest. There’s nothing more important than honesty both to prospective employers and to yourself.
The stress to get a job after college is real. While you probably want to jump into the working world and begin making those student loan payments, having a few career tips can never hurt.