10 Things You Need To Do To Prepare For Graduation and Beyond

As we get closer to the graduation season, the times are tougher for generation y then ever before. Besides the normal things like graduating from college, saying good-bye to long time friends, and drinking a lot less, May brings with it a scary reality that you need to jump start your life. That could be through full time employment or starting your own business.

As you go out to join the workforce, you are also joining the millions of others who have lost their jobs over the last 6 months and are trying to find one to support themselves and their families. So, you’re going to do a couple things different. First, you’re going to have to be open to any and all positions that you come across. Now is not the time to be picky. Second, you’re going to have to make yourself stand out from the crowd and be more desirable then the other resumes within the stack and interviewees in line.

Here are 5 things that you should do to prepare yourself for after graduation and to be a successful.

  1. Network with your professors and faculty – if you want to be successful after you graduate, then you need to start building you professional network. Your professors and other faculty members are great places to start doing so. Many of them will have known you the last four years of your life, know the kind of quality work you produce (hopefully!!) And be more than happy to speak on you behalf. You can also then tap them for their network and connections in different industries that are hiring. Professors and other faculty are always getting emails about job openings, so take advantage of them!
  2. Google Yourself – Seriously, go into http://www.google.com and search for your name. See what comes up. Is it good stuff? Maybe it’s a newspaper article that you were featured in from your school. Or maybe its your Facebook page that is not protected and open to search engines showing pictures of you doing keg stands. Maybe there are posts from a message board where you were talking bad about a professor. Or maybe its a link to your website where you’re advertising your business or your resume. Whatever comes up, you want to make sure it is good stuff. And to get rid of the bad stuff, you need to create more good stuff. So, a couple things to do are to protect your Facebook and MySpace pages so that they do not come up in search engines as well as are only viewable by your friends. Then, start a website, write about your hobbys, put your resume out there, and be active in a helpful way on message boards that are related to your degree. If you do this a couple months before interviewing for a job, with any luck, the fresh content will pop up in the top results and push down any bad stuff.
  3. In the same manner of cleaning up your Google results, clean up your online social networking profiles at Faceook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and anywhere else. All of these can be seen publicly unless you protect yourself and change your privacy settings. Even then, sometimes people with your “network” say the same city or school can see them. So be sure to change your settings so ONLY your FRIENDS can see them. This will help prevent a potential employer or lender checking for you on Facebook to see what kind of person you are (a crazy partying college student maybe?) If you don’t want to change your privacy settings, then clean up your Facebook wall to remove any ASCII drawings of penis’ from your friends or posts from friends like “Dude, that party last night was wild. Did you bang that chick?” Also, go through pictures that you are tagged in. If there is anything too crazy and wild that you think could hurt you if someone saw it, someone like a potential employer, then remove the tag or ask your friend to remove the picture completely.
  4. Professionalize Your Cell Phone – That voice mail greeting that you have that says something like “Hey, its your boy Chris, don’t bother leaving a message because I’ll probably ignore it” is not a good idea and will not encourage a recruiter to leave a message. Also, get rid of the ring backs so when someone calls you they are not hearing “Low” by Flo Rida waiting for you to pick up. Make your voice mail simple and professional – give your name, your number, and ask them to leave a detailed messsage. That’s all you need.
  5. Stay Up On Current Events – Many times when at an interview, career fair, or other networking event folks will make small talk about current events, sports, or anything going on in the news. Be aware of what’s happening in the world so that you can at least touch on a point. It’s okay to say that you didn’t follow something (say who won a tennis tournament) but you should know that Michael Phelps was caught smoking weed, AIG execs got outrageous bonuses, any other top stories. Be aware of your surroundings and be ready to make small talk with people, even the receptionists. Many times, more and more frequently, employers will “plant” someone to make small talk with you before an interview to see how you reacted, if you were able to keep conversation, or if you just kept to yourself. Another tactic I have seen is putting a newspaper or magazine next to a chair where you will be waiting and have someone watch to see if you pick it up and flip through it. Then when you get into your interview, the interviewer will ask you something about one of the headlines on the top of that newspaper or magazine. Watch out and be aware of little things like this.

PLUS…here are an additional 5 Money Makers and Time Savers for Graduating Seniors.

  1. Savor the last few moments you have before entering the real world! Graduating college is a BIG deal. It’s an occasion you want to share with your friends, family, loved ones…but all those invites and thank you notes can eat up the precious little time you have left! (Not to mention the cost!) Thanks to SendOutCards.com, you can send a few hundred announcements and never have to hand address or sign a single one. The online website lets you upload your entire address book, personalize the cards, and click send. They’ll print, stuff, stamp and send your cards for you, and for CHEAP.
  2. De-clutter your bookshelves. Because textbooks are reissued in new editions frequently, the last few weeks of a semester or quarter is the best time to sell your old books and get the most value back. Bookbyte.com is easy to use and gives college students the best bang for their buck. Best part: the site pays for your shipping and ensures you receive your payment within five business days.
  3. Free Airfare Miles for making the family proud. Other than a grad check, what else can your academic transcripts get you? According to StudentScrooge.com, help with that trip to Greece (or anywhere else, for that matter). United Airlines offers graduating students a 10,000 Mileage Plus bonus, which is roughly 40% of the way to a free domestic flight. Just send in your transcript, email address, and United Mileage Plus account number, and they’ll immediately deposit the bonus miles.
  4. Retire that lava lamp. Or any other dorm furniture that screams “undergrad.” Facebook and other social networking sites is a great way to sell your dorm furniture to underclassmen – simply utilize Facebook’s marketplace application to post your offer. Don’t forget to take advantage of status updates and designated groups to get the word out. You may just get enough cash to fund your next rite of passage into adulthood: You’re very own, personal health insurance policy, aren’t you so proud?!
  5. Counteract Senioritis. Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend their LAST month of school sorting through a daunting pile of loose notes and indecipherable scribbling for upcoming exams.  With sites like MyNoteIt.com, users can organize and share notes and study tips with fellow classmates saving tons of time.  Disclaimer: MyNoteIt is merely tool created to save time and is not responsible for how ‘said’ extra time is applied, be it either constructive or destructive in nature.

The second half of this list (5 Money Makers and Time Savers) was graciously submitted by Jason Ellman of Barnett Ellman, which is a PR firm. He sent me a guest post and it just happened to be a day after I started writing this article and they fit together so well that we combined them!

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One Response to 10 Things You Need To Do To Prepare For Graduation and Beyond

  1. College Town Menus (CTM) May 19, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    People hate cleaning, especially frat guys. If you can have a thick skin, approach them and offer to clean their house, apartment, whatever, for $X dollars/hour – but make sure you must set a deadline they must make their decision on, or else you wont do it. Why? They will save up all of their filth for a week or more until it becomes unbearable to them (which you know is bad) and then they’ll call you when there’s too much work for you.

    You can also post fliers in dorms to help move people out, clean rooms, etc. Great way to make money in a more friendly environment.

    Make sure you get your GRADUATION PETITION in on time!! The consequences could mean you dont walk – very embarassing.

    SET YOUR ALARM – make sure you have MULTIPLE alarms so you do not miss your own graduation! You will probably go out and party pretty hard the night before. Have respect, be classy, dress nice, shave, and be proud of yourself, it’s a day you will remember for the rest of your life.

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