You might be wondering: How in the hell do I prepare for life after college? This is SCARY!
Well, there are 10 key things you can do to get ready for the real world and put yourself in the best position for success.
Want to know the best part?
Life after college is FUN! It’s a time when you can choose what life path you want to follow.
The 2nd best part is:
You have SO many options. The whole world is ahead of you!
With that, let’s get into the 10 preparation tips for life after college.
10. Write a Killer Resume
Did you know that most people don’t know how to write a proper resume?
THIS is the one aspect of the job hiring process that you can control.
The general etiquette of writing a good resume is to get rid of the fancy stuff. It has to be simple.
Use a reverse chronological order: list your most recent job first, including your accomplishments and position.
Skip the objectives, but make sure you list your applicable skills on your resume.
Make sure the resume itself is no longer than 1 or 2 pages (the previous appropriate length was 1 page, but since everything is online now it’s not much harder for employers to see the 2nd page).
Use wording that a high school senior will be able to understand. This way, whoever is reading your resume will be able to understand what exactly you did at your last company.
There are tons of resume workshops and examples online, if you need more assistance!
9. Learn on Your Own
THIS is one tip that people definitely do not take advantage of. It’s the main thing I’ve learned in post-grad life.
Take your life in your own hands, and start learning!
Instead of watching Netflix all day, do something productive with your time.
Especially if you don’t feel prepared for the real world.
Start researching something you want to learn about in your field. There is so much free information out there, as well as paid courses you can take that are not very expensive.
Most courses will offer a certification that you can achieve, which is another thing you can put on your resume.
And guess what?
Employers will LOVE that you took the initiative to learn in your free time while job hunting.
In fact, that is one of the most important hiring qualities they look for!
For example, I got certified in Search Engine Optimization because I was (very) confused about the subject. My field is marketing, so it goes hand-in-hand.
You won’t ever regret taking the time to learn a new skill, especially with something you are passionate about! It will help you ten-fold in your career if you start taking the initiative now.
8. Network, Often
This is probably the best tip I can give you:
It really is all about who you know.
This is a killer way to get interviews at companies you are applying for; if you already know someone working there.
There are meetups everywhere in the nation, for random, niche things that you wouldn’t even think of.
There are also business meetups, or groups you can join for working women or women in creative spaces. You name it, there is probably a meetup for it.
People go to these meetups to meet people (duh) but also to network. Check Meetup.com for these local meetings.
Now, a word of caution:
Go into any situation like this with an open mind, and without an agenda. I’ve seen people make the mistake of going to a speaking event for the sole purpose of meeting the person speaking. They know what that influential person can do for them, so they have a one-track mind about it.
It is better to go into these types of meetings just to meet people. It will come naturally.
But, this tip is super important. If you are scared to put yourself out there, that’s totally normal. You will feel more comfortable with time!
Better to get started early and get more comfortable with meeting new people, right?
7. Ace Your Finals
Believe it or not, you can’t graduate if you fail your last semester.
I know, I know: senioritis kicked in at Spring Break and you’re checked out.
Make sure failing doesn’t happen by adopting really good study habits, which in turn will help you in your future career.
Study tips = productivity tips.
Whether it be taking breaks every hour, drinking caffeine, or putting on that playlist that motivates you to get sh** done, I hope you know by now what works for you.
Stick to a study schedule, to maximize the time you study for each of your finals.
I recommend using a planner, or a calendar app on your phone to help keep you super organized (my favorite is Google Calendar).
Your study tricks in college will help you in your future career, trust me.
Organization is key!
6. Learn What Makes You Most Productive
With that, you also need to learn what makes you the most productive.
For me, it’s having a very clean space, writing EVERYTHING down, taking down specific goals for each day and week, etc.
This will help you when you’re applying for jobs, because you will actually get things done in a timely manner.
Most people do this:
They lollygag and waste time after college because they don’t know where (or how) to start.
Another great tip is to learn what time of day you work best.
I learned this from Chris Bailey, who wrote the book “The Productivity Project.”
He wrote that each person has a different BPT – Biological Prime Time.
You need to test working at different times of the day to find your ideal working time, and then you can do your heaviest, most daunting tasks then.
This is good to learn early, because knowing this will help you in the workplace.
For me, I work best in the morning. 9am-12pm. For some, they are night owls and work best when the sun goes down.
You just have to find what works for you.
5. Start Applying for Jobs Early (Unless You Want a Break, That’s Cool Too)
I am ALL for traveling after college. I think if you didn’t travel during college, you should definitely take a couple of months to do that.
The things you learn while in different countries cannot be taught in a classroom.
With that being said:
If you are going to look for a job right after college, you might as well start applying early (before graduation).
You’ll be ahead of the competition (everyone else graduating) and have a better chance of getting an interview!
As far as where to look for jobs, I recommend looking at Monster, LinkedIn, and Indeed. There are also niche job sites for freelance work, marketing jobs, etc.
4. Spring Cleaning
One of the best things to do to clear your mind and get you ready for life after college is to do a bit of spring cleaning.
And no, I’m not talking cleaning your bathroom or tidying up your room.
Getting rid of a ton of stuff. It makes you feel so good; like you’re starting fresh.
It clears your mind and gets you prepared for adult life.
You will get rid of unnecessary things that you don’t need anymore.
I promise you won’t ever wear that animal-print crop top you bought for a sorority social, ever again. Scout’s honor.
Throw that away (please) and donate the rest to Goodwill.
It makes room for all those work clothes you’ll be purchasing (if you have to wear business attire every day for your job, I’m so sorry).
3. Learn How to Take Care of Yourself
In order to maximize your potential, you need to be taking care of your body.
Research what you should be eating, and figure out what works for you. When you do this, your energy levels will skyrocket, your moods will change for the better, and you will feel on top of your game.
One thing I really tried to do after college was to find a workout that I actually ENJOYED.
Most of us despise working out, because it’s the same old thing, over and over.
Did you know…
Working out is actually a lot of fun when you find something you like?
For me, that’s yoga and spin. For you, it may be something totally different.
I recommend using the app ClassPass to test out a bunch of different workouts.
Exercising also helps your body recover from sitting at a desk all day (if you work a 9 to 5).
If you never move your body after a long work day, you’re going to end up with some back/health problems down the road.
2. Have a Positive Attitude
When you’re prepping for graduation, everyone else is in the same boat as you! They are all scared of the unknown just like you.
If you embrace life after college, it won’t seem so scary.
Think of it as a unique experience where you can do anything you want. This is the beginning of your life!
If you are complaining all the time because you no longer have the security blanket of college, people are not going to want to be around you! Harsh, but true.
Embrace the next step in your life, and know that, you’re never going to be in this position again. It is a very cool experience to start your career and try to find something you truly love.
1. And Finally, Graduate!!
The day to celebrate all your accomplishments!
Get your cute dress, cap, gown, grad stole and heels ready, pop some bubbly, and go graduate you little hard worker!
Let your mom take all the photos, let her throw a grad party for you.
Take some time to really celebrate your accomplishments before diving into your career!
I hope we helped prepare you for life after college! You’re going to kill it. 🙂