You did it! You are a college graduate. All your hard work has paid off, Congratulations! After the excitement of graduation is over many students struggle with what to do after college graduation. This is normal. You have been in school learning for the majority of your life. No longer being held to an academic schedule is new territory and can take some time to get used to.
Regardless of what you earned your degree in, you should have a plan for what to do after you graduate from college. If you have a plan it will make the transition smoother. Here at Your College Sensei, I am all about efficiency. I do not like to waste time and I sure don’t want you to waste your time. While there are many things you can choose to do after you graduate, there are three things I recommend which will have you using your time very efficiently.
1. Get A Job
The first thing you should do after your college graduation is to get a job. The time you spent in classes and studying now will be spent on job hunting. This will be your number one priority.
Preparing for a job begins while you are still in college. Hopefully, you built a strong network of professionals during your years in college. A few weeks before you graduate, reach out to your network and see if they know of any open positions in your fields.
Build A Network While You Are Still In College:
While you are still in college, you should be preparing for what you are going to do after graduation. Part of your plan should be to meet, connect with, and surround yourself with people who are in the industry you are studying. This will allow you to keep a pulse on the job market.
Never underestimate the power of networking. Your network may be able to connect you to a possible employer, they may know when a job opening will happen, or they can give you insight into the industry. Studies show that 70-80% of jobs are never advertised. How are these positions filled? Through networking. If you build a good enough network when you graduate all you have to do is reach out to them and someone may be able to recommend a job position—and you’re in!
Create a LinkedIn profile, if you haven’t. If you are unfamiliar with the process I have created The Complete LinkedIn Workshop For College Students.
At 19, I graduated with my BS in Business and I began applying to every position I could. I used my network and let them know I had graduated and was looking for a job. A professional, in my network and in the industry, told me about a position at a Fortune 500 company. I promptly applied. When I landed an interview for the entry-level position, I was ready for it. I knew I only had one shot.
I studied the company and learned its motto and the meaning behind it. Additionally, I studied the position and what it entailed, and I dressed professionally. I was ready. My interview was conducted by a panel of three: two executives and one manager, I had done so many speeches, presentations, and mock interviews in college. I had no fear of speaking and being interviewed by them.
Clean Up Your Social Media:
Be sure to clean up your social media profiles before you send out your resume or CV. Your future employer will likely check you out on social media. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 70% of companies use social media screening during the hiring process. 57% have rejected applicants because of what they found. However, it’s not just the social media sites that they are screening, 66 % of employers say they use search engines to conduct their research on potential job candidates too.
I can vouch for this. I work for a Fortune 500 Company, and I consistently track down the digital footprints of potential candidates. As a manager, I don’t have to rely on just a resume and interview to see if an applicant will be a good fit with the company. On a few occasions, I have passed on a person because of the red flags they’ve had on their social media profiles. I’ve also given applicants the option to explain a specific photo or situation to help me better understand something before deciding to offer employment.
2. Go To Graduate School
Going to graduate school is a big decision and a huge commitment. It’s a sizable investment of time and money. Be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Don’t go to graduate school just because you don’t know what to do as your next step after college. I see many students do this. They are unsure what to do after college graduation so they just continue on with school because it’s all they know. This is not a good reason to go to grad school.
I am all for attending graduate school if it increases your earning potential or it is what you need to obtain a position.
Get Paid More:
Many times, a graduate degree can impact your career options and earning potential. Earning a master’s degree can be one of the biggest income boosts. When it impacts it significantly then considering a graduate degree makes sense. However, it’s important to evaluate the cost of the graduate program vs how much you will increase your salary.
Position Requires It:
Many high-paying jobs require more education to obtain. My goal was to climb the corporate ladder. I wanted an executive position. I knew an MBA would be very favorable for my career goals. Therefore, I decided to go to grad school right after I earned my bachelor’s.
One great aspect of graduate school is it can be postponed for a little while. You will have some time to think about it and weigh your options. If you do decide to go to graduate school I don’t think you should give up your job to do so. Find a way to do both. I worked full-time and went to grad school at the same time. It was hard but worth it.
3. Move Back Home
There is absolutely no shame if you need to move back home. If you are not financially secure and it is a possibility, I recommend it. Life after graduation is full of uncertainty and living back at home can give you a chance to breathe and take some time to figure out the next step. It also allows you to save up for your own place and to begin paying off student debt if necessary.
It’s hard to know what to do after college graduation. However, if you move back home you need to be looking for a job. Your focus needs to be on getting a job and building your career.