Congratulations to my fellow Class of 2017 graduates! You’ve earned your degree or diploma. You’re feeling on top of the world. You’re officially an adult. You’re officially free to make all of your own decisions. I know it’s scary; I’ve been there before. And truth be told, even as a Master’s degree holder, I still feel anxious at the thought of putting these degrees to use. But, I want to share with you some things you can do to put yourself on the path to the brightest future possible!
Update Your LinkedIn Page
LinkedIn is like a digital business card that anyone can see and access at any time. Now that you’re a degree holder, make sure it properly reflects your accomplishments. Take an hour or so to update all of your experiences: add an eye-catching headline (Do not write, “College Grad Seeking First Job”), upload a high-quality headshot, enter your latest degree, and if applicable, don’t forget to add the appellation to your name! Also be sure to create a custom url. This not only helps for SEO (when recruiters Google you, your LinkedIn should be one of the first pages that appear), but also saves some time when job applications ask for your LinkedIn url. I know mine by heart; it’s my name.
After I graduated from undergrad, my Mom gifted me Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to ensure I was aware of the unfortunate obstacles women face in the work force. I love Lean In. I have it in both digital and hard copies. Lean In teaches women of the possible obstacles they may face in the work force and exactly how to handle them. I’m so thankful for the book because without it, I wouldn’t have learned about “man spreading” or developed the courage to take a seat at the table. I highly encourage men to read this book, too.
Read Books on How to Be an Adult
A friend of mine from college recently SnapChatted some pages from a book about navigating adulthood. That book turned out to be Life After School Explained by Cap & Compass. The book is a quick and easy read. I read the book during my train commute into D.C., and finished it within a week. Purchase this book to learn about buying stocks, your first apartment, finding (good) roommates, mortgages, paying off debt, and much more! The best thing about this book is that everything is written in laymen’s terms a.k.a. you won’t get a headache.
Purchase those Business Essentials
My closet consisted entirely of jeans, tees, 6 inch heels, and party dresses until I was 20 years old. I didn’t officially purchase a suit until after I graduated college at the age of 22. Suits aren’t my style, ya know? If you’re like me, I suggest you take a day to find some business pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe. My favorite places to find inexpensive businessware are Forever 21, H&M, and TJ Maxx. Don’t forget to buy a pair of sensible heels!
Whether you have a job coming out of school, are looking to pursue an advanced degree, or are job hunting, remember to pause and take a deep breath. At times, it may feel like everything is hitting you at once. You may have even had nightmares about Sallie Mae chasing you around the pits of Hell with a pitchfork. Ensure that you’re as diligent about your mental health as much as you are about securing a new job. If there’s anything I’ve learned from life so far, it’s that worrying gets you nowhere. Work hard for what you want and trust in the timing of God. Everything will always work out. If it doesn’t, it’s because you were meant for an even better opportunity that’s on the way.