Happy Tuesday Friends!
I can’t believe that this spring will mark two years since I’ve graduated from college! Time certainly does fly by fast, and before you know it, flowers will be blooming, birds chirping and students crossing the stage left and right nationwide.
As some of you may recall, I didn’t have too much of a plan after I graduated May 2011 and actually made a 180-degree turn in my career last March. Thankfully, I’ve learned and grown up a lot since then. But no matter how difficult it got during my job search last year, I remained steadfast and sought out help when I needed it the most.
So here are a few tips for my friends in the Class of 2013 of things that I wish someone would’ve told me months before graduation:
1. BREATHE. Inhale and exhale my friend. If you haven’t quite nabbed that entry level position yet, that’s completely fine! You still have plenty time. If you recall, I held my first real PR agency internship three months after I graduated in The District and continued to intern for additional six. Sometimes you have to build those connections and learn valuable lessons in order to get to where you need to go. Just remain persistent in your search and be open to new opportunities.
2 Loans, Loans, Loans. Sallie Mae and her antics are real and she is coming for you! I’m just kidding — no, but seriously. If you know that you have taken out federal or private loans to finance your college education, go speak to your Financial Aid Counselor soon to discuss your exit strategy. Start researching smart and effective ways to repay your loans. Ask important questions like, “Should I consolidate all of my loans?” Check out this post from Pete the Planner on why you should consider that option.
3. Start exercising those social media muscles! Sorry to break it to you — but at this point, you need to reach beyond the confines of you straight flexin’ on Instagram. Your personal brand is what will set you apart from the rest of your counterparts, so take time to invest in it! Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles should be able to tell a story of who you are and what you hope to accomplish in your career. Need help getting started? Here are a few tips from my good friend The Branding Muse on how you can launch your personal brand.
4. Beef up that resume! Now (more than ever) would be a great time to visit the Career Services Center on your campus–and often. You’ll be surprised at all of the amazing tools you will find — from interview tips to resume building techniques to potential job opportunities. With recruiting season on campus right around the corner, it’s always great to make sure that your resume is current and accurate. So take full advantage of any interview preparation workshops, job fairs and career consortium that may make its way to campus — it’s definitely great practice as well!
5. Connect and re-connect. Take these next few months to cultivate genuine relationships with your current professors and reach out to your old professors and supervisors. I know you may have a serious case of senioritis, but trust me on this one. You never know when you may need a letter of recommendation for future graduate studies or a reference for your dream position. Utilize this last bit of time you have on campus to strengthen those connections before you enter the real world.
And of course, HAVE FUN! It’s your last semester of college, so live it up! You are about to embark on a journey that will teach you a lot — but believe me when I say the hard work, blood, sweat and tears you have endured the last four years is only the beginning.
Best of luck scholars, your future awaits! 🙂