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7 Career Tips For Recent College Graduates

by Margaret Hurst
Marketing Specialist

December 19, 2014

Your commencement ceremony is one of your life’s big milestones. It’s your time to walk across the stage in your cap and gown to shake the college president’s hand and accept your diploma. It’s your time to shine in front of your family and friends who have supported you along the way. 

There was a time when earning your college degree was just a dream—now it’s your reality

Graduation is a big step towards the goals you have for your career and yourself—but now how do you get there? The months after graduating can be overwhelming if you don’t know how to move forward. It’s time to take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next chapter of your life. 

Follow these seven tips for post-graduation success. 

Tip #1: Make A Plan

What goals do you have for your career? What can you do for those goals in the next week, month, year? Make a list of next steps to move your goals forward and set hard deadlines for yourself to complete them. 

You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out to a faculty mentor or contact your local career services office for guidance and insight. 

Tip #2: Update Your Resume

Add your college degree to your resume. While updating your education, review the rest of your resume. Do the skills and experience you include relate to your desired career? Don’t be shy to use an industry-approved resume template, like this one

If you get stuck, counselors at your local career services office can help you fine-tune your resume. 

Tip #3: Reconnect With Your Network

Share the news of your college degree with your professional network. Start conversations with your contacts so that you know their professional achievements and current projects. Keeping these relationships strong can prove valuable to the future of your career. 

Tip #4: Collect Letters Of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation resonate when applying for that dream job or for grad school. Reach out to instructors that know you well and ask for a letter of recommendation. It’s best to connect before too much time has passed. 

Tip #5: Connect With Your Alumni Association

Your alumni association helps you stay connected with your college as well as gain access to a whole network of graduates from your school who want to help out alums like you. As a college graduate, you also have access to exclusive perks like your college’s Career Center and alumni events. Membership to your alumni association is most often free to all graduates, so take advantage of it. 

Tip #6: Join A Professional Association

This is especially important if you earned your degree in order to switch into a new career field. Professional associations have networking events, exclusive job postings and helpful industry resources. Most professional associations have discounted membership fees for recent grads, so joining now can save you money. 

Tip #7: Celebrate Your Success

Relax with your family and enjoy your success. Hang your diploma on the wall and take some time to reflect on this huge accomplishment. You’ve worked hard the past few years and you should be proud of everything you have achieved. You’ve earned it.

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