You did it! You managed to survive the long nights cramming and countless research papers. Now comes the most rewarding part of your undergraduate education, graduating.
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It’s normal to get lost in the chaos of purchasing your cap and gown, wrapping up final projects, and saying goodbye to friends on campus, but don’t let these things distract you from being ready for reality after you cross that stage.
Hopefully you’ve spent your years wisely building up your network, interning or securing an externship, and putting your studies to good use on the job. Here’s how to absolutely crush the competition after graduation:
1. Leverage your internship experience.
Believe it or not, your career can start from something as simple as an internship. Never take an opportunity like that for granted! You never know if you’ll meet your future boss or wiggle your way into a large company through an internship.
If you’ve managed to rack up your fair share of internships, make sure you display them prominently. Treat them as valuable work experience. Be prepared to share your internship experiences and how they’ve played a role in your professional growth. Internships are a BIG deal, so don’t make the mistake of leaving them off your resume.
Tip: Volunteer experience counts, too! Add volunteer experience to your resume that speaks to your skill set. It makes you that much more competitive.
2. Put yourself out there.
Don’t let your degree collect dust. Put your talent and brand out there through networking. Lend your skills to organizations that can’t afford to hire. Moonlight. Start a hobby hustle. Take more classes.
Don’t let your education end at the stage. Take time after graduating to learn everything there is to know about your industry (learn it ALL).
Network, share what you’ve learned, and work to become an expert. The more you practice incorporating your skills into your everyday life, the more confident you’ll be during your interviews because you’ll be able to demonstrate your active experience.
Active experience is experience you’re gaining in real-time, meaning you’re building or honing skills daily.
Things to remember: You will not land your dream job right out of college. Even if you graduate with a job in hand, this job still may not meet your expectations. While you search for a job, don’t set your expectations too low, but don’t set unrealistic expectations that could cripple your job search and leave you devastated, shocked, and more likely to settle for anything.
3. Work on your resume DAILY.
Times change, industries change, and people change. This means your resume will change. A great way to excel in your job search is to build a relationship with your resume and cover letter. The more you look at it, the more you’ll be able to quantify your experience, communicate your value to prospective companies, and understand where you’ve been.
The more you work on your resume, the better you’ll understand where you want to go in your career.
Tip: Craft job-specific cover letters for each job and create multiple resumes per industry. You don’t want to send a resume or cover letter geared towards marketing to an employer specializing in finance. Cut those rejection emails in half by making sure your resume and cover letter are personalized and unique.
4. Be bold.
The hiring process isn’t always cookie cutter, but when it is, you may feel there’s nothing you can do to stand out.
Be bold and put together takeaways for your interview. A takeaway could be a video showing what you’d do to improve a company’s processes. It could also be a sample communications plan.
A takeaway essentially involves you taking an idea you have to make the company better or jump-start a project you’d be working on if hired and bringing it to life for the employer in your interview.
Takeaways can be expensive depending on what kind you need and how many interviews you have, so limit takeaways to companies you’re really passionate about. This will not only impress the hiring manager, but it will also help you make an impression that’s hard to forget.
Life after graduation can be wonderful if you plan ahead and work it daily! Don’t forget to head over to Work It Daily’s YouTube channel, hit subscribe, and learn what more you can do to become a more informed applicant and excel during the hiring process.
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