Tips for New College Graduates

Graduation day is looming, and more people are asking you the same question: “So what are your plans after school?”

The transition from school to the “real world” can be very stressful for new graduates, especially when there are student loans to be paid back and job prospects might be hazy. Luckily though, with the right strategy and plenty of planning, you can increase your chances of finding quality work after school and alleviate your post-graduate anxiety. Here are some pivotal steps you can take:

Improve your skill set

The first thing you’ll notice as you begin to look at job descriptions is they have a list of required hard and soft skills. Study these carefully and take inventory of the skills you will need to get the job you want. Then, seek out specific training for the skills you are lacking. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources, like and KhanAcademy that offer quality training on a variety of subjects at little or no cost to students.

Earning a certification in certain programs like Google Analytics and Google Adwords is even better because it’s an extra accomplishment to put on your resume that will impress prospective employers.

Build your portfolio

If your ideal job requires a portfolio, collect all of the (quality) work you want to show employers and organize it cohesively before you begin applying. The last scenario you want is for an employer to ask you to come in for an interview the next day, leaving you scrambling to put your work history together at the last minute.

Even if the job description doesn’t state that a portfolio is required, it’s always good to prepare one just in case. Employers are always impressed when a candidate goes the extra mile. It sends a message that you are excited about the opportunity.

Don’t just apply, apply well

When it comes to applying for jobs, always go for quality over quantity. This means not applying for as many jobs as you can, hoping someone will reply back, but rather focusing on the few jobs you really want and have a realistic chance of getting.

Study the job description, highlight key skills the company is looking for and honestly adjust your resume to feature those elements. Research the company to know what they look for in an employee. Understand their core values and learn about how they describe themselves. Doing this will take some time but it will pay off in the end, as a quality resume is more likely to get the employer’s attention.

Evaluate costs and finances

Life after school is going to mean life on a budget. This means evaluating your monthly costs like rent, loan payments, and other bills and comparing those costs to your take home pay (a.k.a. your paycheck after taxes). It’s not the most exciting subject to think about, but prioritizing it will definitely save you stress down the road.

If setting up your own budget sounds too daunting, there are plenty of free apps like HomeBudget, Mvelopes and Manilla that let you keep track of your expenses all in one place.  These tools can help you set realistic financial goals for yourself.

Stay positive!

The last and most important tip is to have a good attitude! Figuring out your life after graduation can be stressful and tiresome. Remaining positive in the face of difficulty, will take you far and get people to notice you.

There are countless studies that have proven success is driven by happiness, as opposed to the other way around. Figure out what puts you in a good mood, whether it’s listening to music, exercising or spending quality time with friends. That positivity will fuel your overall success in other areas of life.


Want to read other articles like this one? Check out our Scoop blog for more insights and advice.

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