Lifestyle

Congrats 2018 Graduates!!!

      Spring signals the renewal of warmth and growth. Winter is finally over, and we can begin to look forward to warmer days ahead. It also means that it’s graduation season. I can’t believe that it’s been almost 11 years since I graduated from high school and almost 7 years since I graduated from college. As so many young graduates are heading into the world, I wanted to impart some wisdom and tips that I’ve picked up in my years post-graduation.
  1. For my high schoolers, if you’re heading straight to college or taking some time off to figure things out, please know that these are the most amazing years that you’ll have. Take this time to explore as much of life as you can. You have very few responsibilities and can live life as carefree as you want. Travel, explore different topics that interest you. Meet new people. You never know what experiences have the ability to change your life for the better. If you can, go away to school. I know college is expensive, but I would recommend to anyone the experience of going away to school. I remember on the day I moved into my dorm, I was so nervous I was shaking. It’s terrifying being dropped off not knowing anyone to create a home for yourself for the next four years. But I can honestly say that the experience of having to make friends and navigate everything on my own helped me to grow in ways I wouldn’t have if I stayed here with my friends. If you cannot go away and choose to go to school at home, don’t stick to what you know. Join different groups and take part in different activities. School like life is what you make it.
  1. For my college graduates, graduation can feel less like a celebration and more like a cause for nervousness. You’re now an adult, expected to find a job, pay bills and become a member of society. In this economy it’s not easy to find a job and I know from personal experience it can take a very long time to find work and even when you do, you might not be happy once you start working. I will say now that I’m older that this period of uncertainty doesn’t last forever. You will find you way even if it feels like you won’t. I would recommend reading different books and finding time to go out with your friends. Now that I’m a little older, and we all have full-time jobs, some friends have children, some are in relationships it makes it much harder to meet up. Take advantage of this time now while you can.
  1. When I first started job hunting, I had someone look at my resume, but didn’t fully know the process of applying for jobs. I believe that most of the time why I wasn’t getting call backs was because of my approach. I want to give some tips to my fellow job hunters, so you don’t go through what I went through:
  • Have someone look over your resume: Make sure that all the dates are correct, and the tenses are cohesive throughout. Everyone knows the rule to keep your resume one page, but if you have more work/volunteer experience than can fit on one page then include it. Life cannot fit onto a page and no one should expect it to. I would say to put the most relevant job experience on the first page and then your second page can be volunteer experience. I have a huge amount of volunteer experience and from personal experience many interviewers are excited to see that I am so passionate about giving back.
  • Do your research:  Address your cover letter to someone within the company and send your cover letter in the body of the email with your resume as a PDF attachment. Always make sure and reread your cover letter and resume so you don’t send the wrong job the wrong packet (been there, done that).
  • It’s not what you know but who you know: I hated when people said this because I always felt that I didn’t have enough connections to know anyone, but you never know. Tell everyone that you know that you’re looking for a job. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone knows that it’s difficult to be a new graduate. All my jobs that I have gotten since graduation have been from a direct contact to the position.
  • Be over-prepared: With every step of the interview process, be overly prepared. From the phone screening to the in-person interview. Research the company, the position, and the interviewer. For an in-person interview, print many copies of your resume, cover letter, and reference letters. Always dress more professional than is necessary even if the company is laid back. Always have questions to ask at the end. When I first started fresh out of college, I never had questions, and this is a huge faux-paus because it shows that you are not interested in the position and the company. Arrive 10 minutes before the interview time. Do not spend that time on your phone. You never know who is a part of the interview process and it looks unprofessional to be sitting there on your phone. While you are waiting, you can review any notes or take the time to get a feel for the company. How do people interact with each other? Is the office clean? Do you like the office, the location? Even though you are young and need a job, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Job hunting is like dating and it has to be a good fit for both parties.
  • Always send a thank-you email or hand-written letter: At the conclusion of your interview, ask for a business card so you have all the necessary information. Your email should be sent within 24 hours of your scheduled interview time. Send a thank you to every single interviewer, even if you met with many people. If you want to go the extra mile, send a hand-written note in the mail. From personal experience I only did this maybe twice and didn’t hear any positive feedback, but it is a very nice touch.
  • If you don’t hear back within a week, follow-up.  One of the worst parts of job hunting is the waiting for a response after every step. After the phone screening if you don’t hear back within a week or the time frame given by the hiring manager, feel free to follow-up. You have a right to know what’s going on and it’s unprofessional to keep people waiting. Sometimes it’s out of their control, but we do need to be mindful of how stressful it is for the interviewee. If after your first follow-up, there still isn’t a response don’t follow up again. Be grateful that you are not working for a company that doesn’t value communication.
  • Don’t give up: It’s discouraging and can be depressing to apply for so many jobs and not move forward. After each rejection, take the time to lick your wounds. If you made it far enough in the interview process and feel comfortable ask the interviewer for feedback. Take the afternoon to be upset about it and then get right back on it the next day applying to more jobs. You will find something. Also, don’t disregard this time in your life. Now that I am working full-time I look back on the time I was only working part-time with longing. This time allowed me to travel home and spend time with my mom. I was able to spend time exploring different activities and interests. I could run errands in the day. I spent so much time longing to work full-time that I didn’t embrace the season in my life and now I can’t go back. Embrace wherever you are.
  • Once you start working, save your money: As soon as you set up your direct deposit with your job set aside some money to automatically go straight into your savings. You won’t miss it and you will be grateful in the long run when you see how your savings has grown. Don’t touch the money either. Set up a budget and stick to it. It’s tempting to start spending money now that you have money, but good many habits start young and if you can manage your small entry-level paycheck it will be easier for you once you start making more money.
       These are a few of the most important lessons that I’ve learned post-graduation. Even though graduation can feel daunting. It doesn’t have to be. It’s amazing milestone that you’ve accomplished, and you should be proud of yourself and celebrate! Everything else will take care of itself!
Photo courtesy of nappy.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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