May is upon us, which isn’t just good news when it comes to the weather. This month, college seniors begin a new journey: life after graduation. While this is a very exciting time, it can also be a nerve-wracking one. Between starting life on your own and getting into the job hunting world, it may feel like you have a lot on your plate if you’re graduating this semester. To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve compiled our top tips for making the most of your first few months out of school.
1. Start the job hunt ASAP
If you haven’t started already, it’s vital to begin the process of job searching as soon as possible. Finding a new gig can take a while, and it isn’t as easy as finding an internship. Plus the stakes are higher now that you’re out in the real world, and it’s important to choose your job carefully. But you want to keep your options open to find the best fit. Casting a wide net can help you find the best fit.
2. Don’t limit your job search according to your degree
While you’re job searching, try not to limit your options based solely on your degree. For example, just because you majored in psychology doesn’t mean the media industry isn’t for you – you may be surprised where your skills are most appreciated and needed. While searching for nursing jobs without a nursing degree will prove unfruitful, keeping an open mind during the hunt will help more than you may think.
3. Look for a job you’ll enjoy over a job that pays well
Yes, it’s important to find a job in which your paycheck will cover your cost of living. If you’re renting an apartment in Manhattan, money is definitely a factor to consider during your job search. That said, finding the job that offers the biggest paycheck may not be the best long term plan. Unlike an internship, your job after college will most likely last more than a few months and working a job you dislike just because it pays well will get old quickly.
4. Streamline your search
Searching for a job can be overwhelming and spreadsheets can only do much to maintain your sanity. Thankfully apps like Rake can help to keep your job search organized, capture jobs all in one place and track each application you send out.
5. Attend informational interviews
Even though you may feel inundated with “real” interviews during your job search, you should consider setting up a few informational interviews as well. By speaking with as many professionals as possible in any industry you have interest in, you can better decipher which job feels right for you. And you never know – an informational interview could always potentially turn into a job offer. It’s never a bad idea to learn and network.
6. Clean up your social media presence
Yeah, yeah – we know, you’ve heard this one a million times. But seriously, college is over, and your potential employers don’t want to see those old Facebook photos of you at the bar during your freshman year. Plus, it’s important to update your LinkedIn profile to let hiring managers know that you’re looking – you never know who may find you online.
7. Save for retirement – starting now
You’re never too young to start saving for retirement, and the earlier you start, the more grateful you’ll be in the future. Sometimes saving for such a distant future can feel daunting and fruitless at first, so remember that it’s okay to take it slow! Once you find a job, simply learning about your company’s potential 401(k) policies can help you make more educated choices when you’re financially stable enough to save even the smallest amount of cash each month.
While this is an exciting time, we know it can also be a stressful time. By getting started on your search right away and staying organized, you can make this process a lot easier for yourself – and more importantly, get hired faster!