This is a guest blog post by Anna Hicks.
As we wrap up our final year of college, there are many ‘last time’ utterances passing our lips. While this can be a bittersweet time of the year there are several things that every senior should consider and definitely complete throughout the year in order to prepare for those next steps ahead. It is important to keep in mind that every senior will have a different outlook on what their next step will be. Some may jump right into the job field, others may take a short personal break prior in order to recharge before they are only granted a two week vacation (if you are one of the lucky ones that don’t need to worry about loan re-payment). Regardless of what path you choose to take, looking into several of the items mentioned below would help relieve some of this transitional period stress that is inevitable.
1. Network. Remember all of those internships you had, loved, and dreaded going to? Keeping in touch with these folks as well as the professors that really sparked your interest and curiosity along the way will be extremely helpful. You never know whom you are going to run into or whom one of your connections may know. Keeping those in your circle updated on where you would like to go starts the snowball effect that often turns out to be what lands persons their jobs!
2. Grades. There is a debate on how good your grades should be. Sure a 4.0 would be great but there is some evidence out there that shows that C students actually perform best and are better employees to hire! Regardless your grades are simple number that can help you get into grad school, but if you’ve graduated there is no need to add the GPA to your resume. You’ve completed what you need to! The important thing is not to slack off in your last year because this number, though it may be arbitrary, can certainly open doors for you, and like it or not, people do hold certain biases towards better GPAs.
3. Sell Text Books. Regardless of wether you’ve kept a stash of all your books or not. Selling back your textbooks can add some serious cash into your pocket! Sites such as ValoreBooks.com are a great first step to finding where you can sell your books back for the most profit and help other students save some cash on the large expense that comes with a college education.
4. Resume. Take advantage of the career development center that is likely at your school. There are professionals there to help you put your best foot forward regardless of your next step. They’re trained to put the elements that highlight your achievements and skills as well as create a document that stands out among the others in your field. Creating a resume that is legible, designed well graphically, as well as provides all of the necessary content is the first step to a good first impression! Always have someone look over your resume to ensure there aren’t any typos. You can find free templates online as well as through your word or pages startup page.
5. Mock Interviews. Let’s face it, sitting in a room with 1-10 people you may have never met before can be intimidating. Now add on top of that having to prove yourself for the knowledge and experiences you’ve gained over the past four years. To limit some of the nerves you’re likely going to have, ask someone you trust to ask you basic and challenging interview questions. Having practiced these will help you respond quickly on your feet as your potential future employer gauges if you’ll be a good fit for their organization.
6. Establish Credit. Again, everyone has had different experiences with this. Perhaps your guardian has been graciously helping you out with paying credit cards and other bills. Perhaps you are the lucky one (like many of us) that have racked up tens of thousands in loans, or maybe you’ve been establishing credit for the last 5 years. However in order to purchase larger items down the line, such as a car, mortgage, credit card, etc., you will need a credit score. Paying off your statements in full each month helps build this credit score, you can find more information here.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others. Build confidence in yourself and your own abilities. Everyone takes a different path after college. We all took a different one while we were in college. Sure, your best friend may have gotten a job lined up months before they graduated with killer benefits, but that doesn’t mean that would be the right path for you. It is extremely important to find a job that fits you, a company that holds similar values to what your career goals might be and can help guide or steer you in a positive direction. Just because you qualify for a position doesn’t mean you are going to find work/life happiness while you are there. Timing and luck are components in this crazy mix of post-graduate life and securing a next step.