If you are a senior getting ready to graduate, chances are you have been feeling a myriad of emotions – excitement, worry, anticipation, fear, joy, restlessness, nostalgia, and the like.
With these feelings and the long lists of things to do before the end of the semester, things can feel overwhelming when you boil it down to the question everyone’s been asking you: What are you doing after graduation?
If you find yourself feeling unsure of how to proceed to find out the answer to that question, don’t panic! Here are some things to think about as you start to make the transition from college to post-graduation:
1 – Start your job search. Have a pretty good idea of what kind of position you want after graduation? Start doing some research! Some helpful tips for this process include from our Senior Job Search Handbook:
- Think about where you will be after graduation – are you willing to relocate? Are you staying in Columbus? Are you moving back to your hometown? These are important questions to ask because location could determine the number of job opportunities and your search strategy.
- Once you have an idea of where you expect and are willing to live after graduation, one way to start your search is to research companies you know or are familiar with in that area that you may be interested in. Read up on their culture and keep your eyes peeled for position postings on their website. Or, contact a supervisor to set up an informational interview to ask more about the company and possible opportunities.
- Network. You may be tired of hearing it, but networking really is all it’s cracked up to be! Networking is often thought of as dreadful, but you probably have more connections than you realize! If you have done an internship, keep in touch with your supervisor and inquire about positions available in the future. If there are none, feel free to ask for any tips or advice on leads your supervisor could give you. They’re there to help you and, assuming you have a good relationship with your supervisor, most likely he or she will be happy to help if they can.
Also, make sure to take advantage of LinkedIn and job opportunities posted there. If you are unfamiliar with Linked in, check out our previous LinkedIn series.
- Get experience. If you have not had any type of relevant experience to your field, get some now. Whether it is a volunteer position a few hours a week or a full blown internship, it is critical to get some hands-on experience in your field that will make you more marketable to potential employers. If you have not had an internship or similar experience yet and are having a difficult time finding one, drop in Career Development – we’re happy to talk with you and help you in your search.
2 – Know it’s okay to take some time off. Still not sure if you want to pursue graduate school? That’s okay. You should not pursue graduate school unless you are absolutely sure that is the path you want to take to reach your career goals. So if you do take a year off, what should you do instead?
1. Volunteer. There are still extended service programs that are taking applications, like AmeriCorps. So if you want to travel and help people, this might be a great option!
2. Work in a job related to your major. Maybe you need graduate school to really advance in your career field, but there can be a lot of opportunities to work in a position that might not be directly related to your major, but within your field.
3. Work in a job unrelated to your major. Sometimes, job opportunities pop up and we have to take them, regardless of how relevant they are to our major. Just because an opportunity is not what you have a degree in, does not mean it is any less worthwhile. Whether it’s an office job or a barista at Starbucks, it’s okay to take a job you may feel is unrelated to your degree. Once you’re working there, it’s also okay to keep an eye out for other job opportunities that may be more related to your degree.
3 – Apply to Graduate School. For some programs, it’s not too late to apply to graduate school! Depending on your major and willingness to take on some financial responsibility for your graduate education, this may still be a possibility. OR, wait until this fall to apply for the following year. Again, it’s okay to take a gap year between graduation and attending graduate school.
Impending graduation can be exciting and scary. The key is to start preparing now for the transition you are about to make. In order to transition successfully out of college and into the workforce, preparing and thinking ahead is a must.
That is not to say that those who do not start preparing early will not make a successful transition. However, putting off some of the strategies listed above could make the difference between finding success immediately after graduation or months after graduation.
If you are still feeling unsure about what the next step is in planning for life after graduation, drop in our office and we’ll help you figure out some of your next steps.