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Grad Advice from Post-Grads, 3rd Edition

Okay, so at this point we have gotten some educational advice on three very pressing questions from the people who have been working hard in the post grad world. They have shed some light on questions that many people don’t actually have answers to because you only know the answers once you’ve experienced it. Hopefully our 21 post grads have helped relieve some of your stress and eased your mind, but if not don’t fret; they still are here to answer some more questions.

Let’s recap! We have had these big three questions answered:

  1. Do grades matter post grad?

  2. What makes potential new hires stand out from other candidates?

  3. Was there anything you wished you knew or did differently before you graduated?

Now is time for the big one. The main question we are asking our post grad volunteers; the one question that everyone will have their own personal answer for. Collected below are 21 unique and original answers from our professionals! 

“What is your advice for college students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce?”

  1. “Pause. Reflect on the past chapter of your life and take time to evaluate it. Go away (even if it is only for a week), see another part of the world, experience some new culture and take in the vast possibilities of this world. Use this time to truly think about what you want to do with your life – establish goals, create dreams and imagine all the craziest, most intangible, unrealistic, and truly insane possibilities you can for your life and write them all down somewhere. Then come back, start looking for work and hold onto all this. Use it to fuel you forward, excite you for each day and keep you grounded. When you are overwhelmed by the path you are on or the hurdle you are approaching, trust your intuition and do not forget to enjoy the journey!”

  2. “Don’t be discouraged about finding a job or not getting a call back. All good things take time.”

  3. “Hard work pays off. The millennial mindset is to expect a lot (higher salary, free food, benefits, gym memberships) from their employer without working a day for them, but if you change your mindset to “I need to work to get there” you’ll find yourself being promoted quicker.”

  4. “Try not to settle and find the job that’s right for you that will make you happy to go to work each day.”

  5. “Don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to take a “stepping stone” job.

  6. “Be confident in the skills and work experience you have so far, but know you’ve got a steep learning curve ahead.”

  7. “Listen to those who have been around longer, but don’t be afraid to speak up.”

  8. “Stay hungry for work, make your own opportunities and vocalize your ambitions.”

  9. “Do what makes you happy. Even if you get more money at another job. It is not worth it if you are miserable”

  10. “Try to apply for as many jobs as possible. Even if you aren’t qualified enough or it’s not your dream job. It’s really hard to find a job straight out of college but don’t get discouraged. You got this.”

  11. “No matter how casual your workplace might seem like it is or how “chill” your manager may be, always remember you’re at work and should represent yourself well.”

  12. “Don’t pressure yourself too much in finding your career job after graduating. Things take time, like gaining work experience and actual interest.”

  13. “Find something that you love and somewhere that values your education.”

  14. “Start getting experience as soon as possible. Also, the more you network the more opportunities are available to you.”

  15. “Ask around for different options from people who studied similar things in college, there might be a dream job out there for you that you didn’t even know existed! Also, you will probably have to take a job that is not your dream job right off the bat, but it is worth it to put in the time. Most of the time that needs to be done. You won’t be handed what you want to do right away, you need to prove yourself.”

  16. “Be proactive in getting a job and work hard to make what you want happen.”

  17. “Don’t stress so much about getting a job in the field your degree is in. Focus on getting experience anywhere and building a strong resume and connections.”

  18. “1) Update your LinkedIn: professional-looking headshot (no cropped photos of you with other people or inappropriate attire or bad quality photos); write a solid summary statement (recent grad status, jobs/industries interested in, willing to relocate); update education & job experience (delete irrelevant info, add GPA, double check start & end dates)
    2) Update/organize your resume: follow a similar format as your LinkedIn. Make sure everything is relevant and accurate. Save different versions of all resumes, cover letters, applications, etc. Every time you make significant updates to your resume, save it as a different date so you keep track of your changes. Always tailor your cover letter to the individual company/position.
    3) Ask and give recommendations: LinkedIn is the easiest way to get recommendations and helps you build your network. ask professors, TAs, mentors, managers, or club members. People can see how many recommendations you’ve both received and given. Ask a few people, not friends or peers, if they would be a reference for you (make sure you have their contact info). If you use them as a reference, remember to contact them and let them know the company(ies)/position(s) you applied for.
    4) Don’t settle or underestimate yourself: try to set up multiple interviews around the same time period so if you get an offer you can still have time to get others and weigh your options. As a recent grad, they know you probably don’t have a lot of experience yet. Show them that you are eager to learn and ask good questions.
    5) Learn to negotiate: do your research on the position and salary estimates. Know how to answer the “What salary are you looking for?” question. Overall, know your worth (LinkedIn has a feature like this). Don’t just focus on wage/salary alone; be sure to consider benefits such as 401(k) retirement plans, health benefits, flexible work schedule, etc.
    6) Get organized: start a spreadsheet or log to track job info (i.e., start/end dates, compensation, manager(s) info). This will come in handy when filling out thorough background checks and for tracking your comp. history
    7) Enjoy your last few months of school! It all goes really quickly after graduation, so be sure to leave time to just enjoy that college life.”

  19. “Take time off after graduation to enjoy life post grad life. Once you get that career, you never stop working except for vacations. Take advantage of the time off and all your hard work you out in for your degree.”

  20. “Don’t rush going into the workforce. School took forever to get through and you worked your butt off. Enjoy not being in school before starting your career because once you start you never stop. You’ll only get time off for vacations etc. enjoy life before searching for that long life career.”

  21. “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find a job right away. It takes time, and I’m talking potentially your entire loan deferment kind of time. Focus on your long term goals and treat each move as a stepping stone even if it seems a little out in left field. You’ll be OK.”

There you have it! All our professionals have had different experiences and life lessons that shape their advice; take all of them into account when looking into taking their advice.

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