The biggest and perhaps best-kept secret to finding a job after college is to begin before you ever graduate. Find opportunities to intern and volunteer in companies or organizations that will give you great real-world experience before graduation. Those endeavors are perhaps two of the most effective things one can do to land not just any job but a great job post-graduation. Related: 7 Tips For Finding A Job After College Now, I realize that this bit of advice is great for those students who haven’t yet graduated. But what do you do if you just received your diploma and you are still without a job offer? Then the next biggest and perhaps the best-kept secret to finding a job is to network your way into the job that you want. Attend any and all functions or events where people who are in a position to introduce you to someone who is a decision-maker are in attendance. Let no event go unattended, but also make sure you show up looking like the professional you are—or are about to become. The days of dressing casually and showing up looking less than your best are over except for weekends and vacations. When you are in job search mode, I suggest you don’t go anywhere—including the grocery store—not looking good wherever you go. How you go out in public is part of your personal brand. Why should you go nowhere not looking your best? Because you never know who you might bump into while you are out. I learned this lesson the hard way through a personal experience. Years ago, I ran into the local drug store to pick up something on a relatively lazy Sunday morning. I was wearing no makeup, and I might have even been wearing sweat pants now that I think about it. It was a Sunday morning after all. Imagine my embarrassment, then, when I turned a corner and ran right smack into the Human Resources Director of my school division. He was dressed like he was on his way to or from church—or work—and his wife was coiffed and dressed to the nines as well. There I was…bare faced and utterly mortified. We exchanged a few pleasantries, and I moved on as quickly as possible. That was 35 years ago. To this day, however, I never leave my house without considering that I might run into someone who is important enough that I need to look my best. I don’t go anywhere without having given some thought to my appearance…and neither should you. The stakes are high for you if you just graduated from college. You need a good job to start paying off your college loans. I remember right after I graduated that I desperately wanted my own apartment, and I could never have moved out of my parents’ home if I hadn’t had a decent job with a roommate to help out with the expenses. Even then it was tight. You need to consider that you have spent the last four years of your life preparing for this time when you are about to start your professional career. So, don’t blow it by not handing this job search phase properly. Finally, and perhaps this is the biggest secret of all, have confidence in yourself and your ability to bring value to your employer, whoever that might be. I cannot stress enough how important having a positive, upbeat attitude can be, and how much being someone who is confident in his own or her own competence is going to help you get your first and next great job. Networking, dressing for success, and having a great attitude may sound like three old, hokey clichés, I know. Recognize, however, that clichés are clichés because there is always some truth to them. Want to be successful in finding your first job after college? Work your network, volunteer in some capacity that is related to your job aspiration, dress for the part, and maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. Do those things and it won’t be long before you will have your first great job and you will be on your way professionally. Good luck!
Balancing a career and family is a common concern for most individuals. However, it’s important to realize the smallest of changes can produce the strongest of impacts.
I’ve often worked jobs that required evening and weekend hours. The question is: What can we do?
1. Morning Gratitude Moment
When you wake up in the morning, don’t jump out of bed for your workout immediately, or drag yourself to the washroom. Sit up straight, relax, and close your eyes. Say to yourself, “I am grateful for those who support me, believe in me, and are always there for me.” Say this with a deep breath in between each time you say it, and I recommend saying it for a full five minutes. When you open your eyes and look at everything around you—keep that moment of gratitude with you, throughout your day, reminding yourself how you can’t wait to get home to your loving family.
2. Workout Partners
Begin your day by stretching with your family and doing some physical activity together. All you need is 10 minutes. You’ve accomplished a two-for-one: physical activity and family time!
3. Family Playlist
On your shared streaming service, make a playlist of your family’s favorite music. When you take a break at work or feel a negative moment getting the best of you, listen to that music, think about your family, and regain your focus. Music is a powerful voice and has the ability to affect our mindset. Your family playlist will energize you and improve your mood.
4. Daily Phone Call
At least once a day, call or text your significant other or your kids and repeat Stevie Wonder: “I just called to say I love you, I just called to say how much I care.” Let your family know they are always in your thoughts. Even in the face of a big deadline or an important meeting, that moment will relax you and make your family smile!
5. Clarify Your Work Hours & Expectations
Discuss with your boss his/her expectations of you in regards to your time and your position to foster a mutual and clear understanding of your role. Should your role involve evening/weekend hours, and tasks such as answering emails, working from home, or extra time needed for special projects, establish a strategy and discuss with your boss how to meet these expectations so you don’t feel overwhelmed and pulled between your family and your job. If you are a new parent, have family members who require special needs, or have personal circumstances which require attention, bring these up as necessary, so if you have to leave early, there is an understanding of why this is the case.
6. Socializing At Work
It’s common for colleagues to hang out after work. Say yes when your significant other and/or kids are also busy. This will balance things out more. There are times to have beers with colleagues, but there are also times to go home, relax, watch a movie, and simply have fun with your family.
7. Buffer Moment
We all deal with a lot at work and at times might get irritated or annoyed. Remember you are a human being, not a robot, and thus it’s acceptable to have a buffer moment for these feelings. Take a deep breath, zone into your happy place that involves your family, think about how your energy can be used towards something else, and move on.
8. Yoda Philosophy
As Yoda put it, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Don’t try to leave at 6:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.; just do it. Allocate the last half-hour of your day to do the following and leave at 5:30/6:00 p.m.:
- For two minutes, take deep breaths, in and out, looking away from your desk, feeling the moment of gratitude you felt in the morning. Turn back to focus on leaving to see your family at home.
- Organize your emails based on what is to be reviewed, what requires follow-up, and what needs a response after your breakfast/snack/meal. Your emails are emails, not a to-do list.
- Write out your to-do list, priorities, goals, and key items for the next day.
- Double-check that you have a water bottle and healthy desk snacks.
- Organize your desk so that your to-do list is in front of you, papers for review are next to your list, and keep a pen ready with blank paper to jot down extra notes. Don’t always rely on your computer; rely on yourself and your mind.
9. Phone And TV-Free Dinner
At the dinner table, leave your phone and turn off the TV. Focus on your family, not on work, and use this as a time to bring all your energy, your aura, and your being in the moment with the people who support and believe in what you do, and love you for the ability to do what you do.
10. Your Work Journal
Keep a two-week work diary: try to track every fifteen minutes of your work time. After that, analyze for, and attack, any inefficiencies! This will import balance in your day and yield a well-deserved coffee break, a breath of fresh air, and time to make your daily family phone call!
Does email control you and take you away from your priority list, and thus your work-life balance? Organizational skills are an important factor in how you balance your day, affecting your work-life balance. Get organized and get happy! You'll find that work-life balance sooner than you think.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.