College graduation advice is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s situations are different, but after a few years coming out of the stressful but exciting time of college graduation, here’s the general advice I now give to all graduating college seniors!
1. Try things while you still can.
From my own experience, my first piece of advice is to try lots of things while you’re still young. The only way to know if you’ll like something or not is is if you try it, and it’s better to know now than later down the road when you might have more people counting on you.
For example, I dreamt of becoming a baker, a designer, and a florist while sitting in fluids and thermodynamics classes to become an engineer. When I still had the opportunity to intern, I tried all of those things. I asked people if they were hiring on LinkedIn, DM’ed small businesses on social media, met friends of friends, and tried things to learn even if they were unpaid. While I didn’t become any of those things, I’m now working in social media at a media production company and I love it. If you still have the opportunity to grab experience or intern (even if it’s for a short while), do it while you still can!
2. It’s okay to make mistakes, but own up to them. Learn from them.
My second piece of advice is to fail fast. Making mistakes on your first job is inevitable, so don’t be too hard on yourself, but don’t make excuses for them either. Own up to them. Figure out the next best plan of action. Learn from that experience. If you’re in the hands of a good first manager, they’ll appreciate your proactiveness.
Speaking from experience, I once accidentally published an email from a campaign that went out to 4,000+ people. The product we were promoting wasn’t even available yet. That meant everyone who opened that email in their inbox received wrong information, and I was the one responsible for it. #oops
I told my boss right away and came up with possible solutions to fix the mistake. Thankfully, we were able to collectively come up with a solution.
Also, I didn’t get fired and I’ve never made that mistake again.
You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s okay. It’s part of the growing process, and I promise you will thank yourself that you made them earlier than later in your career.
3. Look for mentors.
I highly recommend looking for mentors you trust who have “been there” and “done that” to give you sound advice as you work through unchartered territory. Look to people you admire in the workplace. Look to people who are active on LinkedIn and ask if they’re available for coffee sometime. If you’re interested in career advice, you’re also welcome to ask me! Comment down below and let me know what you’re interested in learning more about or reach out to me on LinkedIn.
4. Keep your LinkedIn and resumes up-to-date after college graduation.
Every employer I’ve ever had has made it clear they like to access information about future hires as fast and efficiently as possible. If you’re not updating your LinkedIn with your latest experience, what are you waiting for? Job offers are sitting on the table and recruiters will reach out to people with updated LinkedIn profiles over you if you don’t keep it fresh and up-to-date!
I also don’t want to discount having an updated resume and online portfolio, if applicable. When I graduated from college, I created different resumes based on relevant experience: one for engineering jobs, one for design jobs, and one for marketing jobs. If you need to create two or even three resumes, do it. Keep all those assets updated!
5. College graduation advice isn’t one-size-fits-all. Do what works for YOU.
Lastly, don’t look at what other people are doing and think you should be doing the same thing, because you think it will lead to success. Do what works for you. You don’t have to find a job that’s typical within your major. You don’t have to be employed right out of school. Some people choose to travel the world. Some choose to further their education and go to graduate school.
When I graduated from college, the most ideal option was to be employed as a full-time employee right out of school. No graduate school, no traveling, no extended time off. Just a full-time job right out of college.
I started to feel the pressure from friends and family when that wasn’t what I wanted for my own career. I decided to gain more internship experience after graduation: the least ideal situation in everyone else’s eyes.
“Who goes back to intern after getting a college degree?!”
“Why go through all the trouble to get your degree if you’re just going to work intern hours?“
“Do you even know if you’re going to be employed full-time after this internship?”
Everything all worked out for the best. For me, it was more important to figure out if I liked a specific career path than commit myself to a job that I didn’t truly enjoy. Every person has a different situation and a different path, so don’t let what others are doing affect what you do!
Well, that’s it! Was any of this advice applicable to you? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard for college seniors? Please share it and let me know what other things you’re interested in learning about down below!