3 Post-Graduation Career Planning Tips

For many, graduation is the time when they start thinking of their career planning.  Many of you know that they want to make a difference, but don't know how to go past that statement.  You might have dodged the questions from your relatives at Thanksgiving, you might have been spending your spring hiding from the tough job market.  You might have applied to Teach For America, the Peace Corps or other structured programs, and have been rejected.  Now that graduation is over, you are at the point when you will have to start figuring out something… And something that goes beyond moving back with your parents!  Here are 3 career planning tips that will get you closer to your first job post-graduation:

Career Planning Tip #1:  Take A Stand - When asked 'so what do you want to do?', find something better to say than 'I don't know'.  You have to take a risk here, and talk about your passions and what you like to do.  Something like 'I would love to work for a company that really gets the importance of restoring our environment.  I like what Stonyfield Farm stands for - quality products that respect our environment'.  The more specific you are, the more the people you are talking with will have ideas for you.  Even if it's a 'you're insane' type of response, the person might know other insane people to introduce you to.  If you don't know what to say, see more guidance in previous posts here, here and here.

Career Planning Tip #2:  Conduct Proactive Research - Act upon what you will say to others - If you like what Stonyfield is doing, research companies that are similar to what Stonyfield is doing.  Of course, you can visit their page or find similar companies on justmeans, Linkedin, or hoovers.com.  Finding out about companies that are competitors or partners can help you find contacts and positions open in which you can integrate your values into your next job.  An important part of this process is for you to understand how your values align with the company's values.  For more guidance, see previous posts here and here.

Career Planning Tip #3:  100% of people who get hired applied for the position -  Just looking at jobs won't enable you to get the job.  If you like a job, write a resume and a cover letter that showcase your relevant experience and education, and how they can add value to the job.  If you don't hear from the organization within 10 days to 2 weeks, do follow up with the recruiting team to reiterate your interest and ask for an interview.  Few candidates do follow up, and this simple step can lead to more interviews than you might anticipate.  For job openings, see our justmeans job board.  See also more guidance on applying to jobs or networking to your next job here and here.

Even in this tough economy, people get hired every day.  As you move from graduation to your next step, these career planning tips can help you get to your next job faster!  What other tips do you have for recent graduates?

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