Top 5 Tips for Upcoming College Grads

I just did my taxes, March Madness just passed and it’s constantly raining, which can only mean one thing- it’s April and college graduation is springing upon us shortly. With the way the economy is, I really don’t envy college seniors and the career decisions they are forced into making, however, I can offer some advice being a graduate myself just 2 short years ago. Here are my top 5 tips for transitioning into the real world and landing your first job:

1. Review your facebook page

Remember all those frat parties and football games? I’m sure some more than others. While it felt like a good idea at the time to document every moment with your digital camera, you are now tagged in 500 pictures of you at all points of inebriation, which is a big turn-off to your future employers. It is an absolute fact: companies DO research their interviewees on facebook! I’ve done it myself! Take some free time to delete or untag yourself from inappropriate pictures. Also remember to go through your bios- if your activities include drinking games and “being fratty”, you may want to make some adjustments.

2. Get Linked In

Since you’re already on the computer to make your Facebook profile “job friendly”, take a few minutes to create a professional profile that can capture the attention of future employers in your industry. A continually growing favorite is LinkedIn, however, there are several other options that are more industry specific. Because you won’t have a lot of work experience, be sure to list position titles you’ve held in clubs and organizations as your previous jobs. The sooner you start to network online, the better chance you will have at connecting with a recruiter and setting up an interview. *Make sure to double and triple check your spelling since there is no spell check device on the site.

3. Review your connections

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” and it couldn’t be more true. These days, the way to get in the door is to market yourself out to other and connect with people in the industry. If you have no idea where to start, start small. Start by reviewing your family’s Christmas card list, find anyone in your industry? Call them up! Your parents’ friends are great people to interact with about open positions, resume building, industry leaders, new corporations and other professional advice since they are often seasoned professionals who have worked in their field for 10 years or more.  Other starting off points for networking can be high school friends, college alumni and neighbors. Be ready beforehand with a list of questions about your industry so they can point you in the right direction. Continue to grow your connections from there and repeat. *Be sure to keep their contact info organized in your OWN address book for your reference, although Mom probably wouldn’t mind the phone call home every week to ask for your contact’s information for the 3rd time.

4. Create Networking Cards

While you’re continuing to network, people will ask you for your contact information and it would be considered bad form to write it on a cocktail napkin, even if you are entry-level. Order networking cards- they’re business cards for people looking for jobs. You can include your name, email address (avoid your postal address), phone number, social networking site URLs, personal blog and/or online resume link. Also, be sure to include the (general) title of the position you are looking to obtain so people know who to send the information on to. A set of 500 can cost only $20- a small price to pay to set you apart from your competitors. Pictures or logos can also be added for an additional fee.

5. Move out!

I firmly believe that everyone should live on their own for at least a year before they are 23 and hopefully all of your networking and preparation will make this step possible. When you live on your own (roommates or not) you are able to get a sense of Independence by paying your own bills, buying your own groceries, fixing your own leaky faucet, etc. Gaining responsibility in your personal life will give you great experience for taking on responsibility in your professional life. Make the financial sacrafices, find some cheap furniture and get to it!

Congratulations to all of you who are graduating this Spring and good luck in starting your future!

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One Comment on “Top 5 Tips for Upcoming College Grads”

  1. Suzie Martin Says:

    Great avice, Kellee. Especially the “move out” on your own before you are 23!! Congratulations on your super blog. Suzie

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