Applying for jobs online, though, may not be the first or best action plan. In fact, there are many essential tasks you might consider before throwing your resume against the wall and see what sticks.
To help you prioritize your to-do list this fall, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
Now that the first post-graduation summer is over, what is one specific goal that recent grads should pursue? Why does it help?
Enjoy reading their helpful answers… then put their solid advice to work this fall!
1. Develop a Marketable Skill
Recent graduates place too much emphasis on their degree as their major selling point. Instead, they should use any available time they have after graduation to develop a marketable skill that will give them a competitive advantage in the job market. Then, apply those skills and build something. Start a blog and demonstrate your writing abilities, for example. Or learn programming. Now is the perfect time.
Recent grads rarely “get” the true power of networking. Rather than blindly applying for jobs online, only to have their resume lost in one black hole after the next, you’re far more likely to land a solid opportunity by utilizing their network. Now that you’ve enjoyed your summer, start speaking to friends, family, internship connections, teachers, LinkedIn contacts, etc. Most important: ask for referrals can make all the difference.
3. Revisit Your Goals
After four years of college, maybe six ‒ and a after a chance to reflect over their first summer after graduation ‒ recent grads can discover their goals may have shifted. If so, change directions as soon as you can. Don’t get trapped in accounting for 30 years and say, “I would have preferred using my creative talents.” Don’t feel locked in: Open yourself up to all the options. Start now.
This is the time to start spending more time giving back. Not only does it help you focus on social causes and remind you that it is an integral part of life to help others, but it can also pay you back in terms of networking contacts, potential job openings, and brand-building opportunities. Plus, you may even identify an area where you could build a solution from a problem you identify first-hand.
5. Get an Internship
No full-time gig yet? A fall internship is a great way to get your foot into the door of a company and get real-world, hands-on experience when you need it the most. That internship may also lead to a new opportunity, like that coveted paying job. A good place to start? See how you can work with a startup who needs talent willing to learn, but that can also take a little less while working for equity and gaining great experience.
6. Focus on Financial Well-Being
Now that the post-graduation glow is fading, look at achieving financial well-being as quickly as possible. This does not mean drawing a hefty pay packet, however. But you still need to make enough money to pay off your student loan, lead a regular life, and possibly, even save some money at the end of the month. It is prudent you come to understand concepts of personal finance and how to use credit wisely.
7. Get Freelance Work
Newish grads can start building their resume this fall by leveraging sites like Upwork to start freelancing and building solid experience to draw from when applying for jobs. While this can be done even before graduation, now is as good a time as any to get started. The specific goal: Gain as much experience as possible, so that you can go to potential employers with not just knowledge, but also direct experience under your belt.
8. Start a Blog About the Career You Want
One way to stand out among the competition is having a public-facing brand to show off. Whether you’re seeking a job in finance or nutrition, a blog will set you apart. For example, if you want a job in finance, you can start a blog this fall where you share your financial models, market analysis, and stock valuations. Who knows, maybe a reader will be impressed by your work and offer you a job?
9. Pursue Your Passion
I set long-term goals and short-term goals after I left college. My long-term goal was to be able to buy a house by the time I turned 32. My short-term goal was to understand how I wanted to bring value to the world. Most people look for jobs straight out of college without really understanding the value they bring to others and the world. This fall, remember: It’s not about the job, but the fulfillment.
10. Build a Professional Image Online
It is so important for recent graduates to build a professional image online. Now is the time to take down any photos of partying in college (or over the summer) or any other content that might be considered unprofessional. Grads should create a LinkedIn profile and get active on the channel. It’s important to build up their connections and network like crazy in order to see what’s out there in the professional world. Now is the right time!
– Adam Wright, Associated Graphics (AGI)
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.