You’ve Graduated… What’s Next?
Being a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development must mean that I have my plans after graduation neatly organized and planned out right? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
As excited as I am to graduate and “be done,” I am secretly freaking out. My palms get sweaty and my heart beats a little faster when the inevitable question of “what are your plans for after graduation?” comes out of the mouth of EVERYONE who knows of my impending graduation ceremony. As exciting as it is to graduate, whether it’s with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate, we all have to figure out “what’s next.”
I’ve put together a list of the top 5 helpful tips that apply to anyone who is graduating (or will graduate in the near future):
1. Make a Plan : You’ve just graduated and you want to take a break from writing, thinking, and reading. My advice is to keep the ball rolling. What I mean by this, is spend a chunk of time making a plan for yourself. Make goals that inspire you to keep working towards what it is you want out of your career. It’s not realistic to think we will all land our “dream jobs” after graduation but you can definitely start heading in that direction. Where do you want to be in 6 months after graduation? How about a year after graduation? Set your sights on where you want to be, write them down, and map out how you are going to get there.
2. Network, Network, Network: When people tell you to network and get your name out there, they mean it. When looking back at my previous jobs, most of them have been referrals from people I know. It is more likely that an employer will hire someone as a referral from someone they know and trust, then someone who they know nothing about. While this isn’t always the case, it doesn’t hurt to make yourself known to a prospective employer through networking. Networking can be done in the form of social media, such as LinkedIn, but it can also be done through professional networks and pastor current colleagues. Do your due diligence and figure out how you can benefit from who knows who!
3. Have a Few Sets of Professional Eyes Look at Your Resume: Your resume will likely be the first glance into who you are by a prospective employer. Make sure it’s a good one! Having a professional look at your resume and give you constructive feedback will only benefit you in your job search. It’s important to make sure your resume doesn’t only show what your skills are, but it’s important to give specific examples. Use your resume as a way of showing your prospective employer how you can benefit their organization. Put your experience on display and use your resume as the outlet to do that!
4. Keep Learning: You’ve graduated and received your diploma so now you are done…. Not so fast! A degree program is just the beginning of your lifelong learning. Earning your degree has given you the knowledge needed to enter a career field, but working in the field is what gives you the experience. It’s said that one doesn’t truly master something until they are able to teach it to someone else. Think of what you have learned in school as just the beginning to your quest in experiencing maximum proficiency in your area of interest.
5. Be Humble and Don’t Give Up: Looking for a new job or position can be challenging and it can take time. Don’t become discouraged if it takes longer than you anticipate. While interviewing, you might receive feedback that you didn’t expect, which can be tough to hear. Instead of feeling frustrated or discouraged, be humble, and use it as fuel to keep moving forward. Putting one foot in front of the other and doing all the right things, is the only sure way to get closer to the position that is right for you. Keep your eye on the prize!
Questions for discussion:
- Are you planning to stay in your current organization or seek a position at a new organization?
- What key phrase will you use to position yourself on your resume?
- What are your short- term career goals? What are your long- term career goals?
Acuff, J. (2015, May 6). 21 Things Nobody Tells You When You Graduate College. Retrieved from http://time.com/3849142/life-after-college-graduation/
Matt, S. (2016, May 11). 7 Things You Have To Look Forward To After Graduating From College. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samantha-matt/7-things-you-have-to-look-forward-to-after-graduating-from-college_b_9873510.html