The start of May usually signals graduation season. From high school to college and graduate students, all will successfully complete one of life’s most important steps.
The diploma becomes the key you need to enter the real world, the world were responsibilities pile up, and success is entirely up to you to achieve.
Whether you found potential employment through an internship or only have your school experience or your portfolio to show, these tips to make your post-school days a bit easier. Though they will mostly apply to college students, there’s no reason for some of them to still resonate with people in different situations.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Friends
Thanks to life at the dorms or in-class socializing, you probably made a really tight group of friends. After college, you should strive to stay connected with not only your friends but also the people who studied your major.
Unfortunately, there’s a decent chance one of your peers will become successful almost immediately after walking at graduation. They will get a dream job with great pay, live in a hot metropolis and make it seem as though finding a dream job is as easy as pie.
Social media certainly will be a factor in making you happy and jealous, but you should just avoid comparisons altogether. There’s no scientific method or timeframe for getting a job, so be patient and do you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Where the Jobs Are
An industry professional actually gave this tip to me a few weeks ago. Depending on your career, some cities around the United States (and the world) will be hotspots for job opportunities.
Silicon Valley exudes technology, Los Angeles breaths acting, Paris blooms in fashion and many more. Although you shouldn’t necessarily just pack up and start from nothing in a new city, do your investigating job to find where people in your industry are crowding.
For example, Vancouver and Atlanta now stand as important cities in the television and film world. The CW shoots most of the “Arrowverse” shows in Vancouver and box office juggernaut Marvel Studios has turned “Hotlanta” into their factory of superhero films. Find wherever that place is for you and start getting your foot in the door.
Don’t Neglect Your Portfolio or Craft
Contingent on your career choice, you may or may not need a portfolio or a body of work to present to potential employers. If you do need it, don’t forget about it because your teachers are no longer giving you weekly assignments.
Whether you have to do it for free for a friend or neighbor or you simply do it yourself, do something of quality that enhances your post-school work.
Create the animation you’ve had in the back of your mind for a while, shoot the short film or create blueprints and build something.
You probably won’t impress employers by only having that sick painting you did three semesters ago, so while you’re hunting for a job, keep creating impressive pieces that will convince others you’re serious about your future.
The same applies to the tools you need for your job. Stop using the dusty Adobe CS6 you got for cheap and learn what’s new in the latest Creative Cloud update.
Pay Attention, Really Listen and Up Your Email Game
The trio of skills has become essential and not many cares to improve or think much of them. You may have been able to get an A while still falling asleep in a room with 300 other students, but the real world doesn’t work the same way.
During interviews or casual conversations with your former teacher at the supermarket, you may be given information that could land you a job. They may recommend hitting up a different company or know someone who may help you. If you don’t pay attention and listen, you will miss out on what could have been a great opportunity.
Practicing your listening skills will work as great preparation for your actual job as well because meetings will be the central place for finding out if you’re a team player and if deserve to stay at that workplace.
Paying attention to details also applies to the main channel of communication: email. Replying late to a teacher may have worked for you in the past, but failure to provide a timely response to your co-workers, superiors or potential employers will only harm you.
Learn to explain yourself clearly, do your research before hitting send, learn how to be professional and overall, stay on top of everything. Emailing acts as a job, so treat it as one.
Loans, Finance and Investing
Money moves the world and as a recent college grad, you probably have considerable debt from your education. If you aren’t part of the lucky few who pay them off before graduation, you better not forget about them once school is over.
Take full advantage of the Internet with a load of YouTube videos or blogs about personal finance and investing. Learn to use your money for your past, present and future. When you have kids (or grandkids) you’ll be happy you have money to spoil them and yourself.
Pick Up Those Life Skills
Even if you’re unable to have the dough to leave your parents’ home, you should develop your cooking and cleaning skills. Doing so can be a good way to trade for free rent with your folks.
Once you move out and get your own or shared place, cooking will save you money and guarantee you get a healthier diet than a restaurant. Cleaning also stops you from hiring the maid service because dust is eating you alive.
After graduation life certainly gets complicated, but the tips above and many more are ideal for calming down for a minute and understanding there are solutions to your problems.
Remember everyone has a different timeline in life, as you may get that dream job quick or later in life. Your career will give back what you put into it, so make sure to do everything you can to bring your “adulting” game way up. If not, well, you can still call Mom for some wisdom.