It’s an unfortunate fact of life that change can, and often does, affect our life quite a bit. Unexpected large-scale change can derail your entire way of living, of course. But even change that we all see coming, change that we can anticipate, plan for and even look forward to, can have a profound impact on our lives, making us realize we may not have been as prepared as we thought we were.
I’ve already written about things you may be doing wrong in college simply due to the fact that, when you get to college you’ve (probably) never been there before.
So what about after college? What about the time when graduation is in the recent past, the celebrations have died down and you’re left unemployed, burdened with student debt and wholly unprepared for life as an adult? Well, I’ve got a few tips to help you out there as well.
Let me stop you before you get too far ahead of yourself–I already know what you’re thinking.
Lionel, you’re still in school, you’re not graduating until 2018. How can you claim with any semblance of certainty that you wished you knew these things before you graduated when you have not, in fact, graduated yet?
These aren’t things that I didn’t know, these are things that you may not know in your current standing as a college-aged student.
Get an Internship or two, or three
Far, far, far too often do people graduate college without experience under their belts. Yes you’ve got a great GPA, maybe you also held down a part-time job while taking 16 credits every semester and graduated summa cum laude while nailing your end-of-the-year presentation in the capstone course for your major.
But do you know what it’s like to really work in advertising, in business, in marketing, in public relations, in accounting or in any other major field of study without having really experienced it? There’s a difference–a large one at that–between what you’ll learn in a class and what you’ll learn on the job. Recruiters look for students with internships first and foremost if you’re a new member of the post-collegiate workforce.
Get Into a Leadership Role or Two
The importance of working you way up the ladder cannot be understated. When future employers are seeking out new recruits, particularly those fresh out of college, they’ll be looking for people who have some leadership experience.
Leadership, as you know, isn’t something that you can be taught in class–you have to earn it and experience it for yourself. Whether it’s working your way from a cashier to a supervisor at your part-time college job or being elected the editor of your school’s newspaper, leadership and management positions look fantastic on a resume and allow you to speak to your ability to move up within a company and take on larger roles.
Take Initiative & Apply for Jobs BEFORE you graduate
I know that when the semester is winding down and finals are the primary focus of your evenings, it can be difficult to think of most anything else. This is more than likely compounded when it’s the end of your senior year. You’re about to graduate college–you’re probably either sitting in your room studying for your finals for hours every night, or celebrating with your friends and looking forward to entering the “real” world in just a few short weeks.
Lost in this mess can be the need to actually take initiative and apply for jobs before you receive your degree. You don’t want to begin sending out resumes and cover letters ad nauseum right after your graduate–more than likely this is the time that employers receive hundreds (if not more) of resumes at once. Stand out and apply months before you graduate. You can list on your resume your expected date of graduation and the classes (and internships) that you took and beat the rush. This can also help to facilitate a job right out of school, allowing you to hit the ground running in terms of your career-goals.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t find gainful employment
But if you’re not hitting the ground running, that doesn’t mean you never will. Just because you graduated college without a full time job lined up, it doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure and part-time retail employment for life. It just means you need to continuing taking the initiative and applying yourself (literally and figuratively) to furthering your career. Not having a job directly out of college doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you, well, normal. According to the Daily Caller, only 14% of 2015 grads had a position lined up after school.