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Tips for Graduates I Wish Someone Shared with Me

As I think about where I was a year ago, freshly graduated and exploring my options, I can’t help but remember how stressful that last few months of college are. You are supposed to be enjoying the last couple of months, hanging out with friends that you may never live in walking distance to again, writing your last paper, taking your last test, enjoying every walk through your tiny college town, and having lots of celebrations.

While it is important and fun to celebrate and indulge as you head into your next chapter, it can be overwhelming, sad, and nerve-wracking when you don’t know what that next chapter holds. One year ago I was taking phone interview after phone interview, and most didn’t lead to what I wanted. I didn’t hear back from companies that I applied to and continually had to answer the dreaded “where are you working next year?” question.

The last few months of college are scary, fun, exciting, anxious, and chaotic all wrapped up into one. Here are a couple of tips I wish someone had shared with me last year:

  1. Remember that everyone is in the same boat. Whether you are graduating with a job or not, you deal with the hiring process.
  2. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, what their salary is, where they are moving too, how they got their job, etc. Your time will come. Take a deep breath, and continue on with your job search. Remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out.
  3. Use LinkedIn. My colleague Charlotte gave great tips in last week’s blog for recent college graduates and how to update your profile. I thought I would give a couple more about how to engage on LinkedIn:
  • Build your network. Your connections and network are crucial when searching for a job. Start connecting with classmates, friends, your friends’ parents, professors, high school classmates and teachers, and alumni. Make sure that you keep the connection request personal, especially when it is going to someone that you do not know or haven’t seen in a couple of years. Make a point to write how they know you, let alumni know that you just graduated. You never know who they might be connected to and who can make an introduction. Here’s how to find alumni on LinkedIn.
  • Begin engaging. If you connected with alumni and they work in a field or for a company that you are interested, follow up. Once someone connects you can begin messaging them. Let your connections know that you are interested in their field by asking a question. If they are local, see if you can grab a cup of coffee or have a phone call. Everyone has been in your shoes and most alumni have serious school spirit! Hopefully, they are more than happy to help you out.
  • Take a look inside their network. As you begin to build your network you gain access to your connection’s connections. Head to their profile and click “See Connections.” Your best friend from high school’s mom might just be connected to your dream boss. Take a look and ask for an introduction.

Check out last week’s blog, linked above and here again for your reference, in order to update/build your profile and as always, we are always here to help.