Whether you’re accepting your degree with a job offer in your back pocket or you’re packing up to move home, or you want to settle and start your own businesses. Here are 7 things you can try working on to ensure a smooth transition from student to professional or life after college:
- Build your network. As for most introverts, they hate the word “networking” because it brings up images of sweaty salesmen handing business cards to each other at an event. Don’t worry. That’s not how successful networking is done. Start to build your post-grad network by asking a professional you respect and you would like to follow their path for some professional advice. When you read a great article online, send it with a note to someone you know who would find it relevant, the sense of being considerate about others will also make them considerate about you and that’s how relationships are built and grow. Focus on relationship building rather than asking for a job, but this does not mean that you can’t send out your CV. The connections you make now may lead to opportunities down the road.
- Engage in “social stalkery” That’s my term for finding people online who might help with your job search. Create lists of people who work at organizations you want to work for and find ways to authentically engage with them, through professional platforms such as linked in or you can even get physical interactions if you lucky. Look up people on LinkedIn and read their profiles to get a sense of how they’ve positioned themselves for their jobs. Begin commenting on blogs or other social platforms hosted by companies you want to work for. You’ll gain insights about these people and organizations and this information will help you during interviews and most organizations are interested with people who are aware of their insights.
- Take it offline. Attend professional events in your region, when available– including conferences, workshops and networking events. You can find these through various platforms. These local opportunities can be helpful even if you are planning to start your own business. Often in your career you’ll hear “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” What you know will get you the job, but sometimes who you know can open the door. So, these events are good for firstly, improving what you know as most knowledge shared is mostly not taught in schools and this will widen your scope and secondly it can increase your list of who you know and in most cases these people can actually help you unlock some doors in the future.
- Keep bridges intact with classmates and professors. In most cases most of us don’t know what your friends in college will be doing in the next 2-3 years to come. And because each individualhas different push in life and even different purposes in life. With this been the fact some of your friends will upgrade fast in the corporate world and some will delay. And some already have a good professional network and some don’t and that’s why you don’t know who your right hand will be when you are actually trying to solve your puzzle of life after college and for this reason its essential that you keep in good touch.
- Develop your professional online presence. What do you discover when you Google your name? Does your LinkedIn account position you as a skilled job seeker with relevant experiences? (Tip: Refer to yourself as a “your professional,” not a “student” or “new grad”). As our world is more digital these days the percentage of youremployers to search for you online has increased at a larger percentage than before. What they discover can mean the difference between your resume ending up in the recycling bin or a call for an interview. And for this reason, its good to have the social medias for your social life and the professional platforms like linked in for career and professional purposes.
- Consider paid post-grad internships. I know you want a job with benefits, a steady paycheck and a company iPhone. But, it’s a competitive job market right now considering a huge number of graduates that we have and fewer job opportunities and it might take a very long time for you to find the right first job. A paid post-grad internship can give you valuable experience and connections while preventing a gap on your resume. And this will also help you improve your experiences. (Tip: most companies can easily accept interns than new employees)
- Ask for help. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone to drill down to what kind of job you really want and how you can strategically pursue opportunities. Or if you still don’t know if you should actually apply for a job or start a business its better to ask for help and listen to various thoughts they can help you make the decision that suits you. Find a person you respect and ask them for advice on your resume, they can help you notice what you resume is missing before sending it out to your employer. Be sure to take action with their suggestions that make the most sense for you and to thank them afterward.