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.
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. However, you shouldn't let these things distract you from being ready for reality after you cross that stage.
Hopefully you've spent your years in college wisely building up your network, interning or securing an internship, and gaining work experience. Here's how to absolutely crush the competition after graduation and land your first "real" job.
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 network 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.
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.
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 work on it, the more you'll be able to quantify your experience, communicate your value to prospective companies, and understand where you've been.
In addition, the more you work on your resume, the better you'll understand where you want to go in your career.
Tip: Craft disruptive 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.
You may feel there's nothing you can do to stand out in the hiring process as a recent college graduate with limited work experience. But, that's not true.
Be bold and put together a 30-60-90 day plan for your job interview. Also, make sure you research the company and understand their mission and values, and don't forget to ask about the problems they currently face as an organization so you can provide examples of what you'd do to add value as an employee. Some examples of this include what you'd do to improve a company's processes or a sample communications plan. Essentially, this strategy 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.
This will not only impress the hiring manager, but it will also help you make an impression that's hard to forget.
It can be intimidating for recent college graduates to enter the workforce after graduation. However, life after graduation can be wonderful if you plan ahead and work it daily! If you follow these pieces of career advice, you'll be one step closer to landing a job you love.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.