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Grad Advice from Post-Grads, 1st Edition

With graduation coming up, many students are starting to feel the pressures of “adulting”. They are asking themselves endless questions and worrying if they have done enough in their college career to actually succeed in the “adult world” after they finally receive their diplomas. Constant stressful questions are clouding the minds of these soon-to-be grads; the added strain on their final semester includes questions like: “When do I start applying for jobs?”, “Do I have enough on my resume?”, “Are employers going to ask about my grades?”, “What if I still don’t know what I want to do post grad?”

These questions have crossed the minds of many and today we provide you with some answers from 21 postgrads themselves! These 21 individuals answered a series of questions for us about their “adult” lives, what to expect as a recent grad, and any advice they would give to those who are about to go through the process.

Our respondents ranged in age from 21-28 graduating in between 2012-2016 and all have a variety of jobs. In this first edition of Post Grad Advice from Post Grads, we will look at our first two questions

  1. Do grades matter in post grad life?

  2. What makes a potential new hire stand out from the other candidates?

First things first: Grades

Do they really matter after you graduate or are they something that just fade into a distant memory? The answer was actually split; we found that for specific jobs (such as a teacher), you do need your grades ready to go, but for others they weren’t required.

Secondly, job interviews are certainly in your future as a soon-to-be ex-college student, which as we all know means we need to stand out from the sea of resumes that our future employers see.

So, “What makes a potential new hire stand out from the other candidates?” Here are some of the best answers we got from our poll.

  • “Ask intelligent questions and be genuine.”
  • [Mention] “extra things you’ve done on your resume, even if they aren’t exactly related to your field. The more experience you have (even if it’s off the wall) will grab employers attention and make them remember you.”
  • “Confidence, professionalism, promptness. Nobody ever gets a job for showing up late, under prepared and underdressed.”
  • “Professional attire, manicured and groomed. Don’t talk about your “college days” too much. It makes it look like you’re still in that life style and not ready to work in the professional field.”
  • “Great question and it varies on the team who is hiring. In my experience, it has been if the candidate has the “fit factor”. Does the candidate’s skills align with what needs to get done and does the candidate’s culture fit with the company values.”
  • “…The format of your resume and cover letter” [matters]!
  • “Activities outside of school! Get involved as much as possible. From my experience, employers don’t care about what field your degree is in (if it’s not a professional school i.e. nursing), they care that you have one. So go out and explore the clubs and other activities you can do. Showing you can balance more than just school is so important.”
  • “Emphasize your willingness to learn and succeed in whatever you do, and it should stand out.”

Our personal favorite:

“Always use examples. When interviewing, always have an example or a story to support your answer. Don’t just say you’re good at something because you got a good grade or you learned a specific skill. Give an example of how you applied the skill and the resulting outcome. When networking, be genuine. Everyone is putting their best foot forward, but people remember those who they had a good conversation with and didn’t feel like it was fake or masked. People can tell when you’re just sucking up and saying what you think they want to hear. Hiring managers are looking for cultural fit as much as they are other requirements.”

The idea of working a 9 – 5 so soon after hitting the kegs the night before can be daunting for even the most prepared grads. We will have more winning advice from these qualified young professionals in Part Two!

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