Preparing for Life After College
It is not uncommon during your last year in school, to be excited and get carried away. The chant of previous graduates; “I came, I saw, I conquered” has become your chant too.
As final year students, you may want to embark on a whirlwind of activities; like picnics and field trips done within or outside the state you school in, how about the dinner and award night where you would probably be honored with one award or the other, birthday bashes here and there and lets not also forget the engagement parties and marriages that would suddenly start popping up all over the place. So many great and interesting things happening at the same time and you want to be a part of all of them. Right?
I won’t tell you not to have as much fun as you want to. It’s your last year after all, embrace the feeling with a well-deserved sense of achievement. You survived college!
But I would tell you this, your final year should not be just about farewell parties and enjoying the feeling of graduating out of a higher institution.
It is way bigger than that! It is a time to prepare for the next phase of your life and what might come with it.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself and be able to answer as a final year student is; “how prepared am I for life after graduation?”
Opting for a college degree gives you an opportunity and a platform to prepare for and build up a career. However, many students end up leaving their chosen professions and doing something entirely different from what they studied in school. The most important thing is that you are making progress. Whether it is within or outside your chosen career.
To help you get the most out of your last year in school, here is a list of how you can prepare yourself for life after graduation.
1. Know your options
Career or more school? I advise that you figure out which direction you would like to follow early. Most students opt for working right after their graduation. Some on the other hand decide to get a master’s degree. If you decide to get a post-graduate degree, then you should think of the department you want to get the degree and apply in order to get accepted into the right school. Depending on what you see yourself achieving in the next few years, it is still okay to start your own company or business right after school if you have the financial capacity. It doesn’t even have to be something you studied in school, you just have to do your research and employ people well-grounded in the type of business or company you want to set up.
2. Prepare a resume
If you do not have a resume, you should begin building one. If you have one already, well congrats! You should think of updating it. The way you present your resume can gain you entry or disqualify you from those jobs you want. If you do not know how to prepare a resume, you should seek professional help. A lot of experiences in college can help build you a strong resume. Don’t leave out any work experience just because you think it is irrelevant; it may boost your chances of getting a job. You never know what the recruiters might be looking to find.
You think you do not have a strong or good resume? An internship is the best way to step it up. Look for a company that is involved with your career choice and intern there. Don’t allow the fact that you may not be paid huge bucks to discourage you. Internships are the best way to gather experience; these experiences are more important than the pay at this point. You would be exposed to the practical aspect of what you had been taught it school. This would give you a better chance of getting those higher paying jobs.
4. Create a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is a networking site on the web. It is for professionals seeking to find jobs or recruit employees. Recruiters use this platform to access applicants and subsequently offer them jobs if their profile meets their demand or the demand of the jobs available. By now, you know that it’s not just about having a presence on LinkedIn, your profile must be a killer to be able to attract recruiters to it. If you have a profile, it’s time to update it. If you don’t, then create one. Once you have a profile, actively use the website by following people and groups relevant to your career path. Also, connect with people you know and people you have worked with. Ask them for recommendations. Networking is very important. You shouldn’t wait till after graduation to begin the process. Start now!
5. Think about your social media profile
As you get ready to graduate and land yourself a job, think of the things you have on your social media pages and if recruiters would find these things distasteful, and possibly even disqualify you from getting a job. Chances are, as an undergraduate, your social media profiles are definitely filled with pictures and videos of the good times you have had. Memories are golden but you have to think of the present. Do you want to be represented by those pictures and videos you have on there. Do you want a hiring company to see those angry tweets between you and your ex or the “no bra” pictures you left on there? Now is the best time to remove all those red flags. Don’t wait till after graduation. These days, employers disqualify job applicants after seeing inappropriate pictures or posts on their social media pages. Your social media image is more important today than it was in the last decades.
You probably won’t be applying for a job until you have gotten your final results. But it is important that you start preparing for job interviews; the kind of questions that would most likely be asked, and the best ways to answer them, what to wear, how to compose yourself.
A lot of financial responsibility comes with being a graduate. It is therefore advisable to build a good financial management skill and also, adopt a habit of investing; because an important key to success is knowing when to save and when to invest.
Final year may be fun for most people, but do you know what is more important than final year partying? It’s seeing yourself make progress after school doing what you want and love by way of landing yourself a good job, getting a post-graduate degree or starting your own company.
Life after college is closer than you think. Best start making preparations now.