5 Tips After Graduating College
“The real-world” … That’s what we’re all told we are going into after we graduate from school. After you graduate from college, the question you have been asked your entire life of “what are you going to do?” transitions very quickly into “what do you do?”. At a glance these questions seem similar, but they are the turning point of your accumulation of knowledge to the application of that knowledge you gained over the last 20+ years of education. Colleges have embedded into their students the knowledge of how the real world works at a surface level. From personal experience, however, there is a major drop-off in the actual application of that education. As their senior year concludes and the real-world approaches, many students are stuck in limbo deciding “what do I want to do?”. Although there is no clearly defined process to figuring that out and everyone’s answer is differs, I can help with tips that will make you stand out in the professional world as a top candidate.
The 5 tips to hit the ground running after receiving a degree are as follows:
– Resume Preparation
– Seek Out a Mentor
– Persistence & Patience
– Questions During the Interview Process
When it comes to resume preparation, you should treat it like you would a research paper with multiple drafts and always look for areas you can improve within the document. Your first resume should be 1-2 pages highlighting education, a personal statement, your experience, club memberships/athletics, volunteer work, and any projects completed related to the job you are applying for. BE CREATIVE! Hiring managers are going through hundreds of applications, so you need yours to stand out and catch their eye. When talking about your experience, quantify your achievements to demonstrate the impact you had on the company and the projects you worked on. A resume is your opportunity to get your foot in the door and sell yourself. Once you are in the door, you have their interest/attention, and the hook is set, it is up to you to demonstrate why you specifically chose their open position and the value you can bring to the company.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in building your network and entering the professional world. Your LinkedIn profile should tell the story of who you are as a professional. You have the ability to reach out and introduce yourself to recruiters/hiring managers at any company. Use it! There are many
resources on the internet outlining what these messages should include, but the first part is finding the correct person to talk to. Once you identify the correct person, develop a clear and concise message to introduce yourself. Keep it simple, no one wants to read a long message.
Seek Out a Mentor
A common disconnect for college students is the importance to have a business mentor that can advise you based on their experience. A mentor is someone that you can lean on for professional development and guidance throughout your career. If you can find a mentor while still in college, that person will be in your corner as you graduate and will have a significant impact on your professional career. To make the most out of your relationship with a mentor, you must be open to constructive criticism.
Patience and Persistence
All good things take time, patience and persistence are the most important aspects of finding your first job. Many soon-to-be graduates feel pressured to have a job immediately out of college, which blinds them from getting their dream job. There is an abundance of open opportunities in the job market right now, it is difficult to decide which job is the right fit. Go through as many interview processes as you can, practice makes perfect. This will help refine your interviewing skills, so when that perfect opportunity presents itself, you have confidence. Navigating in an unfamiliar world will take time to feel comfortable.
Questions To Ask During the Interview
Going into an interview can be intimidating, but the best interviews occur through conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. When preparing for an interview, go to the company’s website and research their products, competitors, and what you believe differentiates them from their competitors. Develop 3 solid questions around how the company operates, the culture, and what the internal career path looks like. A good example question would be, “how does ______ differentiate themselves from their competitors in such a competitive industry?”. It is just as important for a candidate to interview the company as it is for the company to interview the candidate.
Author: Grant Kiepper
Sales Development Rep