You’re probably looking forward to graduation this May ‒ and you should! But as a graduating senior, don’t get so caught up in the celebratory aspects of graduation, you fail to prepare for life after college.
You think you have plenty of time… not realizing just how fast that last semester of college can go by.
With that in mind, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What is one thing you should definitely do now in order to prepare yourself for your post-college life?
For their timely answers, read on!
1. Create a Great Resume
As someone who frequently hires graduating seniors, I’m surprised by how terrible most resumes are. They’re formatted strangely, they’re too long, they have superfluous information, etc. If you wanted to be prepared for graduation, have a great, succinct and well-formatted resume! And if you aren’t ready to do the hard work of creating that resume yourself, invest in help from a professional.
2. Invest in a Sharp ‘Interview Outfit’
Making a good first impression is important to rocking an interview and landing a job. As a graduating senior, you might not have a professional outfit for interviews yet. So make sure to invest in one now! Think about what jobs you’re going to be applying for, too. Do you need a full business suit, or can you go for more business casual? One of each might be a good option if you’re not sure yet.
– John Turner, SeedProd LLC
3. Start Building Your Personal Brand
This is a great time to start building your online personal brand. First, take control of your online image with a clean up of your social media profiles. Then create and complete a compelling Linkedin profile. Finally, Google yourself to see what comes up. You can even create a website with a digital portfolio of your coursework, freelancing projects and previous internship experience.
4. Attend Your School’s Career Fair
Many universities offer career fairs throughout the year. If you’re a senior in your final semester, you’ll definitely want to attend. These career and job fairs are a great opportunity to polish up your resume, practice your elevator pitch, and polish your interview skills. Who knows, you may even meet some great companies and be earn a job or internship offer!
5. Exhaust All Academic Resources
Once you’ve graduated and left campus, you won’t be able to access all the same academic resources that you had available when you were a student. So take advantage of these resources while you still can. Read any books or academic journals you’re curious about, make copies of relevant materials, and visit your favorite educators. Make sure you don’t have any regrets when you get your diploma!
6. Visit Your Campus Career Center
Familiarize yourself with every available resource at your campus career center — and make sure you’re taking full advantage of their expertise. If you have professors you’ve been close with over the years, engage them, too. Be specific: Don’t just ask for advice finding “a job,” ask for advice finding one that will set you on the road toward your goals and aspirations.
7. Build Relationships
Take advantage of your status as a student to build as many relationships as you can on and off campus. Students have a unique opportunity to network, as they are around lots of new people every day in an environment conducive to cultivating new relationships. People in the workforce are generally open to connecting with students, so [play the long game and aggressively network.
8. A Graduating Senior Must Learn to Budget
Post-college, your financial situation is probably going to change. If you’re not on your own now, there is a good chance you’re going to have to learn how to budget your money. Do some reading online and anticipate what kind of expenses you’ll like face as a graduating senior. Then create a monthly budget. This is especially helpful if you’ll have student loans and debts you need to pay off.
– Blair Williams, MemberPress
9. Start Exploring Opportunities and Building Skills
To get on the right career track, one needs to figure out the area of interest and opportunities in that niche right from the college days. It is always good to start early, explore options, know what skills are needed and start building those skills. The simplest way is to explore required skills listed in job boards, then learn those skills. Finally be sure to add those to your online profiles including LinkedIn.
10. Develop a Plan to Keep Learning
Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. It’s essential to keep learning throughout your life. This isn’t necessarily accomplished by taking more classes. Stay current on news and trends related to your career goals. Follow leaders in your field. Read books. Attend seminars and conferences. This opens you, the graduating senior, to more possibilities and also keeps you up to date with the latest developments.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have also created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.