5 Smart Things To Do After You Graduate
Graduation season is here, and you're getting ready to take that all-important walk across the stage this month. Congratulations, you did that! But you're not done. If you don't have a job lined up already, you're not alone. While you work on that (or take some much-deserved time off) here are a few things you'll want to make sure you do while you figure out your next.
Continue Utilizing the Services Your School Provides
Just because you're graduating doesn't mean your relationship with your educational institution has to be over the minute you walk off the stage with your diploma in hand. Make those student loan dollars work overtime! One way to do that is to put your campus career services center to use. There is plenty of information, support, job and internship leads, resume and job search assistance and people resources like career coaches to help guide you in the direction that's best for you.
If you've established good relationships with your professors over the years, don't discount them as useful sources to tap into. They helped school you in the industry you've chosen, and will have valuable contacts in the industry that they can connect you to also.
Do a Social Media Sweep
It's now widely known that checking a job candidate's social media is a part of most companies pre-employment screening process. If your social media pages hold evidence of how awesome and over-the-top (not in a good way) your college life was, now's the time to take a trip down memory lane— your timeline— and start deleting and untagging yourself from any images that won't serve you well should a potential employer come across them. If there are wild and fun memories you want to hold onto, copy and paste them somewhere else, but get them off your social media.
Employers are not just searching for ratchet photos of wild and crazy nights on and off the yard. Employers are also noting poor communication skills, less than favorable comments about previous employers and co-workers, and even unprofessional screen names. So, you already know there's someone somewhere who missed out on a great opportunity because her Facebook name is Rachel "RunMeMyMoney$" Nelson.
To protect yourself from missing out on any opportunities, check you privacy settings, do so regularly, and test those settings from another computer to see if they are actually working. Keep in mind, though, that resourceful employers have ways to get around privacy settings, so it's best to do a clean sweep, press delete, leave the posts that reflects your best self and post new stuff that does the same.
TODAY'S BFF COULD BE TOMORROW'S CEO!
Keep in Touch
Even with all of the adulting you'll be busy doing in the real world, social media makes the effort of keeping in touch easy. As time goes on, your old squad from school will take on leadership roles with top companies, and start their own companies. Today's BFF could be tomorrow's CEO! Celebrate their wins, both personal and professional and send flowers or fun bites to eat to celebrate their milestones. Keeping in touch and being genuine may keep you top-of-mind when past acquaintances are forming teams to take to the top with them. Co-founder anyone?
Read, Read and Read Some More!
I know. I hear you. You just graduated, and would be fine with not seeing a book for a long while. And, in the age of video and audio content, why read? But, let me tell you, audio and video can only go so far and deep. I have learned more about the workplace through reading books of my own choosing than I've ever learned as a college student. I know lots of business majors who have learned more about the workplace outside the classroom, and largely through books.
Self-knowledge is the best knowledge! Had I not been facing my own challenges in the workplace right out of college, I probably would have never picked up Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage their Careers, or The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women. Reading career books like these made me wonder what else didn't I know about how the workplace works. I kept reading. Never tire of learning. Make it a lifelong commitment because things are always changing. Always!
Build a Power Wardrobe
Whether you have a job waiting for you upon graduation or not, start building a winning work wardrobe. Here's where that graduation gift money will come in handy! Put some of it to good use and make it work for you by investing in classic pieces that you can use again and again; pieces that will go the distance towards several power looks and style types no matter where you work.
One book I love and think is a great resource for helping you build winning looks for work on a budget are Never Pay Retail Again: Shop Smart, Spend Less, and Look Your Best Ever by the late Style Expert Daisy Lewellyn, and still the "Queen of Effortless Chic." Another fav is Your Ultimate Guide to Style: Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Getting Your Best Look Ever by the editors of People Style Watch.