June 1, 2012

you've graduated - now what??

Hooray for guest posts!! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming back Zach Buckley, who's written a guest post for wannabe|employee before.

For many college students, it can be difficult to see beyond the perceived end goal of graduation. When in college, however, it’s important to think about what lies beyond. If they fail to consider what they’ll do once they graduate, they may find themselves ill-equipped to handle the rigors of life after college. Whether the graduate in question trudged to campus every day or earned a degree through the completion of online classes, he’ll still face the same challenges post-graduation.

Acquiring a Job

The first challenge any new graduate faces is hunting down that elusive job offer. Venturing out into the job market with new degree in hand can be a daunting task. Often, graduates are left choosing between the position they want and the one they can acquire immediately. When beginning the search process, it’s important for recent graduates to set clear and achievable goals. While holding out for a dream job can be desirable, sometimes graduates must take jobs to make ends meet.

Graduates who settle for less-than-ideal jobs should keep in mind that this position doesn’t have to be one they hold for years. If they aren’t happy with their initial jobs they should still continue the job search while working at this starting job, continuing to strive for the career they’ve always dreamed of having.

Get a New Place

Whether the graduate lived with a roommate or stayed home with Mom and Dad through college, graduating often means calling a new place home. This can be difficult as the graduate often doesn’t have gainful employment to fund this new abode. As they prepare for graduation, students can make this transition easier for themselves by exploring new home options and saving up to finance this dream. If graduation arrives before the funds are saved, it may be beneficial to remain at home with parents or to live with a roommate while starting out in order to save the necessary capital.

Continued Education

When walking across the stage to pick up that degree, many college students --exhausted from years of study-- feel reluctant to head back to school. Doing so, however, is a wise choice, particularly in ever-changing technology industries. It behooves recent graduates to consider continuing their education, even though the prospect may appear less than desirable. By exploring online degree programs, recent college graduates can acquire information to enhance their understanding of concepts within their industries and pick up new credentials without making additional schooling a full-time endeavor.

Network for Advancement

After completion of a degree, the graduate’s attention should turn to the process of networking. By building relationships within the business community, the graduate can set himself up for career advancement. While even the most adept networking doesn’t ensure a job promotion, attending industry functions and rubbing elbows with movers and shakers is always helpful. Graduates can enhance their ability to network by joining professional societies in their field, as this gives them access to an array of activities and events that will be filled with individuals who work within the same industries.

Leaving behind the comfy cocoon of college can be equal parts scary and exhilarating. As graduates prepare to exit these halls of education, they can often assuage their fears by critically thinking about the steps that follow graduation. With careful exploration of the post-graduation process, former students can make the transition a seamless one and find their way more easily into the working world.

Zach Buckley is a freelance writer who is interested in exploring the intersection of culture, science and education. He lives in the Midwest and enjoys music, literature and good food.

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