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TIPS FOR NEW COLLEGE GRADUATES
Years from now, you will come home from work and walk past a framed picture of you at your college graduation. People frame things like these because they capture a moment of triumph, perseverance, and strength to complete higher-level education. For some, that moment captured in that photo may display an accomplished individual-- or it could show someone who has just graduated and is scared for what the future holds. All college students have a vision of their life after graduation. This vision might include a start to a new stable career and a fully confident graduate ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, we can't predict the future (let alone a perfect one). Most likely, you might be a new graduate who is about to embark on the uncharted territory: the real world under your navigation. It is okay to question yourself about your ability to handle what comes next. Luckily, we have some tips to help remind you of the meaning behind your accomplishment and how to confidently live your new life as a college graduate.
1. Daily Affirmations
You've made it this far, so there is no need to get down on yourself now. Think back to all the classes that made you want to give up, then remind yourself that you are not one to give up. Then think back to all the classes where you felt inspired by, which lead you to work hard and discover your strengths as a student. Those weren't just your strengths as a student. They were your strengths as an individual. Practice positive daily affirmations through mindfulness, sticky note reminders, or any other way you choose. Once you push out those negative thoughts, you will have new confidence that energizes you to move closer to your goals.
2. Find Your Routine
Whether or not you're unemployed or working three mundane jobs, create a routine that will increase your productivity even further. This might include: applying to a specific number of jobs each day, reaching out to industry contacts, exercising, reading, or maybe meditating. Practice anything you believe can improve your focus and confidence to move forward. But don't just find that routine… follow it!
3. Use LinkedIn Every Day
If you are a college graduate without a LinkedIn, sign up for one as soon as possible. Once you're on the site, make sure to connect with as many people you know. It doesn't matter if they are your high school acquaintance or the intimidating corporate employee you met briefly. You never know who might be working in your desired industry and if they are willing to help you with a referral. Along with making connections, make sure to update your skill set regularly. Looking for jobs on LinkedIn is easy, but you want to stand out as a strong candidate for the job. Make it a goal to check LinkedIn more than Instagram, and you'll immediately feel more productive. Also, make sure to choose an appropriate and professional profile photo. Even put the effort in to take a picture that represents your passion and make it your cover photo. Put effort towards your profile to embrace your professional and unique identity to share with possible future employers.
3. Put Yourself Out There
Nobody ever made progress from hiding in their comfort zone. When you are in college, you more than likely to come in contact with successful people that you admire within your career. However, with admiration, comes intimidation. Throw that fear out the window and motivate yourself to reach out to those people. For example, you may have had a guest speaker, professor, or program director who you found yourself aspiring to be like one day. There's a possibility you can find their email or some contact information that allows you to reach out to them. So do it! Explain the impact they had on your career goals and don't be afraid to ask for advice. There is a possibility you will be ignored. There is also a possibility you could end up meeting them for a coffee so you can introduce your best self. Plus, you can get insider advice on how to approach your ambitions. Not to mention, that person who once intimidated you will turn into a personal connection and possible advocate for your effort! Do your research, send those emails, make those calls, and form new relationships. Before you know it, your comfort zone will surpass your fears.
4. Be Prepared At All Times
You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so make sure you are ready when the time comes. You can't predict the future. You might be laying in bed covered in Doritos next to a pile of dirty laundry when you get a call for an interview or some important meeting. While it may be alarming, it can be much less stressful if you know what to do next. Prepare yourself by always having a clean and ready-to-wear professional outfit in your closet to put on. Print out descriptions of every job you have applied for, and what their company represents so you can look over it on your way to the meeting. Keep a collection of printed resumes and cover letters that match each job you've applied for so you can find it quickly and have it on hand. Once you make yourself look presentable, compile all your papers into a folder, grab a notebook/pen, and head out the door ready to make a great impression!
5. Focus on the Future, Not the Past
It is easy to lose confidence if you look at your past and all the things you could have done but never did. Remain in the present and look forward to the future. You may have missed opportunities in the past, but there are plenty more to come. You will take advantage of because those are the mistakes are now lessons you have learned.
6. Be Respectful, Even When Facing Rejection
As a new graduate, you are going to face rejection constantly (unless you are very fortunate). Don't allow the nonacceptance to make you bitter towards yourself and those who have said no to you. Respect those who have dismissed you, whether or not they had a good reason for it. In fact, treat everyone you've met with or contacted with reverence, no matter the response you get. Treat employees, strangers, and even those who have rejected you with kindness. Instead of focusing on who is holding you back, or how you can get ahead, put your energy into having good character.
7. Be Patient, Be Open
Graduating from college doesn't guarantee everyone an immediate foot in the door to a perfect career. For some, it may, but for many people in this day and age, the road to success can be challenging. You may find yourself wondering why you keep getting dismissed by your dreams, despite all the hard work you are putting towards them. While common, it is also extremely discouraging. You can find yourself feeling like a failure, but the good thing is, you aren't. The only way to fail is to give up, so be patient. Continue to work hard, open yourself to new opportunities, fight through the disappointments, and never give up.
If you're reading this, you probably made it through graduation. That is something not only to be proud of but something to remember when facing the struggles of post-college life. You made it through all the classes you could have failed. You finished your work while simultaneously fighting exhaustion. Most importantly, you graduated. You will get through the stressful post-graduation phase, the same way you got through college!
Hopefully, you found these tips helpful and inspiring. Feel free to comment your thoughts and let me know if you would like to see more posts that expand on this topic in the future! Also, follow me on Twitter (@emilyokonsky) for updates on new articles and writing projects. Thanks for reading!
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These tips are great, especially the last few. Graduating can be a really difficult transition for people. Thanks for sharing!