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Adulting Career Transition

4 Tips for Finding Your First Job After College

September 18, 2021

Though you may have been able to follow a clearly defined path towards graduation throughout your college experience, at a certain point that path ends and another begins. As you finish your degree, the time comes to embark on the search to find your first job. This can be intimidating, but a basic knowledge of some of the best practices for first-time job seekers can make the initial search much smoother. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you prepare for finding your first job after college.

Perfect Your Application Tools

It can be helpful to hone a variety of different skills that can make the application process smoother while simultaneously increasing your chances of landing a job.

One critical element of the modern recruiting landscape is a solid, polished online presence. Ideally, this is something you should be working on far in advance of your first application via cultivating a positive, professional manner throughout all of your social media interactions. Past behaviors, comments, and attitudes can all come back to haunt candidates as recruiters scour their online profiles in an attempt to learn more about them.

With that said, even if you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, it is never too late to start cleaning up one’s online presence. Make sure to clean up your common social media profiles and take time to create a fully filled out LinkedIn profile in order to facilitate your communication with other professionals in your field as well as potential workplace recruiters.

It’s also crucial to prepare your resume ahead of time. While you may not have a plethora of past experiences to populate it with, a well thought out resume that properly represents your professional and academic experience, as well as any other relevant skills, is important.

When you go to apply, ensure that every application is uniquely crafted for the position you’re applying for.

Network, Network, Network

Whether you’re an industry leader with a dozen years of experience or a fledgling college graduate, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. While readers of this article will likely still be in the early stages of their career, it is still absolutely worth the time to invest in networking with professionals within your industry. Great avenues for networking include attending professional organization meetings for those in your field and reaching out to a potential mentor on social media. Whatever avenue you choose, finding ways to network is an excellent way to increase your chances of finding a job quickly.

Use the Resources You Have Available

College graduates typically have a host of various resources available to aid them in their search for employment. If your institution has a good alumni network, it can be beneficial to try to tap into it. Another option is to take advantage of your school’s career center and meet with a career counselor to discuss ways to go about your job search. This can be helpful for refining your search, perfecting your resume, and helping to work through any other questions you might have.

Making It Through the Interview

There’s nothing more exciting (or nerve-wracking) than getting your first interview. Naturally, you’re going to want to do everything you can to prove you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are a few tips for successful interviews:

First and foremost, you need to dress the part. Even if the job you applied for has a casual dress code (or you’ll be working from home in your pajamas), you must dress professionally for your interview. First impressions are everything! 

Second, it’s always a good idea to practice your answers to common interview questions. You don’t want to find yourself tongue-tied or coming up blank when potential employers are asking questions you should have expected. It’s practically inevitable that you’ll be asked the old chestnut “Tell me about yourself,” so be ready with a professional, authentic answer.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t speak negatively about your previous employers. Prospective employers will end up thinking you aren’t capable of resolving problems with your managers through negotiation and diplomacy. You may be perceived as a gossip, complainer, or simply unprofessional. If you’re asked why you left previous jobs, have constructive answers that don’t put the blame on a specific person (i.e. “there was no room for advancement.”)

Accepting a Job

Once you begin to hear back from recruiters, you’re going to want to prepare for job offers that could follow. If you decide to accept a job, make sure to be thoughtful and respectful in your acceptance in order to maintain a professional demeanor as you prepare to join the ranks of your new employer.

Typically, a job will first be offered over the phone or in person. If you accept, a formal job offer letter will follow. If you feel you need time to consider the offer, don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, rushing to accept a job can often be a mistake. Just make sure your request for time is made respectfully. Once accepted, make sure you understand when you are to begin working. The one thing you should absolutely avoid doing at this point is negotiating over the salary. This should be done earlier in the process and can appear dishonest if done after an offer has been made.

As a final note, once you receive the formal job offer letter itself, make sure to respond appropriately in turn. There is more than one way to accept a job offer, and it’s likely you’ll accept the offer initially over the phone. However, whether you accepted on the phone, or asked for additional time to make your choice, once you have reached a conclusion, it is important to confirm your acceptance of the job offer in writing. An official job offer thank you letter typically reiterates the primary details of the offer, the start date, and a personal acknowledgment of your interest or excitement in starting at the company.

Confidence is Key

If you take the time to prepare for your job search, you are much more likely to find success quickly. Not only that, but a professional approach to your search and a polished, pulled-together demeanor as you go through the hiring process will enable you to start your new job with confidence and likely create an added level of respect from your new employer as well.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Career Student Life

How Students Can Make Some Extra Cash In Real Estate

September 15, 2021
Hand holding up money

If you are a college student looking to make extra money, there are plenty of ways for you to do so. From driving with Uber or Lyft to working for your university, many opportunities are available if you know where to look. One area you might not have thought to look at, however, is real estate. How can a full-time student make any money in the real estate business? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to explore in this post!

There is plenty of money to be made, and all you need is the attitude and planning to get a piece of it!

Have You Considered Becoming a Part-Time Realtor?

There are several steps you need to take before you can become a realtor, but — once completed — this job offers flexible hours. A realtor that works 20 hours/week makes $24,556 a year on average. That means you can choose when to work and easily schedule around class time. You’ll need to take an online prep course and then pass your state’s licensing exam, but after that, you can apply to a brokerage near your school.

If you have a free summer, then you should take the course and licensing exam then, as you wouldn’t want the licensing process to get in the way of your studies. Plus, it doesn’t take three months to complete, so you can use the rest of the summer to get comfortable with the job before resuming your studies.

Suppose you are going to school for finance, business, or hospitality and management. In that case, this job is a perfect resume builder because it involves negotiating with buyers and sellers, keeping track of accounts, numbers, and spreadsheets, and requires that you develop and maintain a schedule. If you can pull it off, this is a lucrative way to make money while in school and develop many sought-after skills in the job marketplace.

Have You Considered Investing in Real Estate?

Investing in real estate sounds like something your parents might bring up with their friends as you awkwardly engage in conversation at a family party. However, it has never been easier for retail investors, a.k.a. you, me, and everyone who isn’t a full-time investor, to enter the real estate investment market.

Many traditional investment businesses have followed Robinhood’s lead and opened up real estate investments to the masses through REITs publicly traded on the stock market. REITs, short for real estate investment trusts, are publicly traded companies that exist solely to invest in real estate. It is an indirect way to invest in real estate, as you are removed from direct investments, but the return on investment can undoubtedly be direct!

If you have extra cash, you may want to consider investing in a REIT through Robinhood or any similar investment app. A smart plan would be not to order out once a week and instead put that money toward a REIT investment. Similarly, you could look at any extraneous expense, like coffee or pizza, and reallocate that money into your investments.

The Takeaway

There are many ways to tap into the predicted growth when it comes to massive markets – like real estate. Whether you tap into it directly by getting involved in a brokerage as a realtor or indirectly through real estate investments, there are opportunities to be had and money to be made.

The critical thing to remember is that opportunities are abundant if you know how and where to look for them.

BIO: Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for Chad Boonswang, a successful life insurance lawyer in Philadelphia.  

Adulting Career Transition

10 Most Common Business Plan Presentation Mistakes to Avoid

September 8, 2021

Making the leap from college student to entrepreneur can be daunting; especially when pitching your idea to investors. Presenting college projects to peers and professors may have given you some experience, but successfully selling your business plan to a room full of executives requires practice, polish, and professionalism.

To avoid the most common mistakes, follow these top tips:

1. Poor Time Management

A thorough business plan presentation should last about an hour. If you’re the person presenting, the responsibility of time management is yours.

You need to plan your use of time carefully, or risk running out of time to explain essential aspects of your idea.

2. Not Pitching Correctly

It’s not uncommon for several members of a team to attend a presentation. However, investors want to hear from the CEO.

If the CEO isn’t adept at public speaking, they’ll need to practice. This isn’t a college group project, it’s a business pitch. Relying on others to pull the CEO through isn’t going to cut it.

3. Forgetting Visual Elements

Not every investor pays attention to visual slides—but some will be put off if you don’t provide them.

Create a detailed visual presentation, just in case. Visual presentations are the gold standard in the business world, and most investors will expect you to bring one along.

4. Not Identifying the ‘Big Problem’

Your presentation should start by highlighting WHY your company has been created. If you don’t address this driving force in detail, you can’t explain how your business aims to solve it.

5. Failing to Be Convincing

Your presentation must be convincing. You can achieve this by implementing a mix of credible and accurate information, honest forecasts, confidence, and personal belief in your business plan and capabilities.

6. Lacking in Focus

The last thing you want during a presentation is to veer off on a tangent. One question from an investor can send a conversation down dozens of different paths, few of which were included in your original strategy.

If your meeting veers off course, respectfully regain control and direction.

7. Telling a Weak Story

Your business plan needs to tell a story, and your presentation gives you the chance to relay that story to investors. If your storyline is poorly coordinated or weak, investors may not see the merit in investing in you.

Make your business’s story coherent, compelling, and told in enough detail to make sense to outside parties. There may be a generation gap you need to account for.

8. Ignoring Your Audience

The point of your presentation is to demonstrate how you can make investors’ money. Your interviewers are assessing whether you’re a good investment.

You’ll need to ditch the student mindset and focus on how your ideas and skills can benefit investors. Leave out your college achievements, sports trophies, or hobbies. They’re not relevant!

9. Underestimating Your Competition

Confidently stating your business won’t face any competition is not a smart move. Such bold assertions make you seem egotistical, arrogant, and poorly read.

If you conduct enough market research, you’ll always find competition, no matter your sector or market. Being honest about potential challenges shows you’re reasonable and level-headed.

10. Dressing Too Casually

The point of a business plan presentation is to impress investors. Stereotypical student attire has no place at a pitch.

You’re going from the dorm room to the boardroom and need to look the part. Dressing smartly and professionally will make you seem mature and capable.

You can always put on your hoodie once the seed money is in the bank!

Career

Is Coding a Basic Life Skill and Essential for the Future?

August 31, 2021

Coding is the process of writing or creating instructions for computers to follow using programming languages. It’s used to program technologies used every day like websites, apps, and other computer software. People are becoming more exposed not only to more gadgets powered by code, but the modern world is becoming more reliant on the internet and code-powered software, making computer literacy essential.

Learning, or at least understanding the basics of how to code will come in handy not only if you pursue a degree in software development or computer engineering, but also as a skill to have in your toolbox. Coding is a skill that can be taught and picked up by kids as young as 5 years old, and with technological advancements, teaching kids basic coding hasn’t been easier. Here are a few other reasons coding is a basic life skill and essential for the future. 

Coding Helps With Problem-Solving

Learning to code helps you approach problems logically since it’s essentially giving a computer a task to accomplish based on a series of steps you’ve created. These instructions can range from simple to complex, where more complex tasks or codes are a collection of simpler codes just put together. Knowing the basics of coding helps you break down a big problem into smaller pieces and be able to analyze or look at things from a different perspective.

Demand and Earning Potential for Coding-Related Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that careers in computer and information technology will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029, faster than the 4% average projected growth rate for other occupations. Some job opportunities that use coding include website and software developers, software engineers, data analysts, database and system administrators, and data scientists. According to the BLS, in 2019, the average median salary for coding and programming-related professions was $39,810.

While these jobs may increase in demand over the next few years, some skills needed for these jobs include a mastery of front-end and back-end programming languages, tools, and structures, as well as strong analytical ability, and problem-solving skills.

Practical Application

Most people have the impression that coding or learning to code comes in handy for technical professions, but there are other practical applications of coding knowledge as well. For instance, some projects may involve working with a team or coordinating with other developers, experience from working on these projects may translate into better teamwork or dynamics with others in the future. Coding also entails having keen attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and patience since coders should be able to notice the smallest mistakes in a code and be able to work through any issues that may come up while working on a project. These skills are not only valuable to coders but can also be useful in one’s personal life as well.

Coding Resources

There are numerous free resources available online once you decide to learn to code. Sites like Coursera, Udemy, Codecademy, AGupieWare, and edX offer free coding courses, and multiple Youtube videos and blogs are available to watch or read through as well, depending on your learning preference.

People are only becoming more exposed to technology every day, and knowing how to code as a skill can not only help you navigate and use these technologies better but help you maximize these and make the most out of them as well.

BIO: Arleen Atienza has been writing for several organizations and individuals in the past six years. Her educational background in Psychology and professional experience in corporate enable her to approach a wide range of topics including finance, business, beauty, health and wellness, and law, to name a few.

Career

Becoming a Pharmacy Technician: What to Know

July 12, 2021

Pharmacy technicians help a pharmacy run smoothly. They support the pharmacist, customers and medical professionals by dispensing medication. If this career path piques your interest, there are many different paths you can take to become a pharmacy technician. It all depends on whether you need to take pharmacy technician classes to get licensed or registered and certified in your state. Follow these steps to determine the path that’s right for you.

What are the regulations in your state?

Each state has different regulations about who can work as a pharmacy technician. The  Pharmacy Technician Certification Board provides an at-a-glance look at state requirements. You can easily see if your state requires certification, licensing or registration, or both. This is an excellent first step to help you plan your timeline.

Next, you will want to take a closer look at your state’s requirements. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy can give you more specific information about your state’s requirements. This resource can help you make sure you have all the current information you need to become a pharmacy technician in your state.

No Regulations

There are currently only five states that have no requirements besides a high school diploma or GED. These states do not require technicians to register with the State Board of Pharmacy. If you choose this route, most of your learning will come from on-the-job training. After at least 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician, you will be eligible for certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

National Certification

Two dozen states require pharmacy technician certification. Some of them require it in order for pharmacy technicians to become licensed or registered. Others just require it to get a job as a pharmacy technician and perform specific duties.

Before you take the exam, you have to finish a PTCB-recognized training program or have 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician. However, you can apply to take the test if you are within sixty days of finishing your program. Your certification will be granted once you provide proof of completion. This could be a copy of your certificate with your name, completion date, and the title of the program you finished. It could also be an official letter from the training program with the same information.

The pharmacy technician certification exam takes about two hours to complete. It currently costs $129 to take the PTCB certification exam, but make sure you check their website for changes. Once you pay the required amount, PTCB will email you to let you know if you are authorized to schedule your exam. Some employers may even pay for employees to take the certification exam.

Licensing or Registration

Almost half of all states require licensing or registration in addition to national certification. Pharmacy technician classes can prepare you for both.

The registration process may look a bit different in each state, but you can probably expect an application, an application fee, and proof that you’ve completed the training that your state mandates. Check the State Board of Pharmacy for specific requirements.

If you decide to take pharmacy technician classes, or if your state requires them, the time requirements can vary. Programs can range from a few months to two years. Programs may offer a certificate, diploma, or degree.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists requires accredited programs to include a minimum of 600 hours of instruction over at least 15 weeks. Longer programs may offer you an associate degree and extensive hands-on training in the field.

The length of the program is just one factor to consider. You will want to make sure the program you choose can meet your other needs.

  • Does it meet your state’s requirements?
  • Can it help you achieve your personal career goals?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Will the school help you find a job after graduation?

Other Considerations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists are taking on more patient care roles, like giving flu shots. This means pharmacy technicians are also being asked to play a greater role in pharmacy operations.

Even if your state does not require licensing, registration, or certification right now, requirements are getting stronger all the time and could change in your state. Employers may also prefer to hire pharmacy technicians who have completed a program and obtained certification.

Look for a school that offers flexible, accelerated programs to meet state requirements and give you an edge in the pharmacy technician field. You will leave with an associate degree and preparation for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

You can complete an accredited training program and become a licensed pharmacy technician in less than two years. Find out what your state requires and choose the right path for you.

Career Student Life

5 Most Rewarding Careers To Pursue In College

June 29, 2021

When we define a rewarding career, many of us have entirely different goals from others. While a high income may be vital for some of us, a more emotionally rewarding career might be something you are striving for. 

  1. Youth Worker or Social Worker

As you might have guessed, working with people and focusing on assisting those to better themselves is the way to go. From social work to youth work and even counselling and therapy, you can forge a career that isn’t only offering a fairly high pay packet, but also rewards you in other ways. 

With a little commitment and drive to level up your studies with an online course, you will be on your way to building a career around helping people. Your day to day workflow will often include working with those to overcome addiction, find motivation and simply live happier healthier lives.

  1. Dental Hygienist or Orthodontist

Another career which you may find exceedingly rewarding is the dental field. 

It isn’t a secret that many of us aren’t too fond of our smiles, and may even experience pains due to dental problems, and so imagine being the person to remedy all of this for someone. You will find that, though tough at times, working in the dental field will have you on track to building a career that is great for your bank account, but also for your emotional state as well. 

Each and every day you will spend your time working to actively help those who need assistance with their teeth through x-rays, dental cleanings, straightening and more. 

Added to this, many dentists and orthodontists build long-term relationships with their patients, and so you have the chance to build meaningful friendships and relationships. 

  1. Speech Pathologist

To a career that routinely hits above 80 per cent in the employee satisfaction index, becoming a speech pathologist gives you the chance to help patients with a myriad of ailments that surround their ability to speak, swallow and communicate in general. 

In this career, you will work with people of all ages to better improve their ability to communicate through speech, but also assist those who are having trouble communicating either due to hearing issues or a genetic problem. 

  1. A Forester or Environmental Worker 

With many of us becoming more aware of our detrimental impact on the environment, eco-focused careers are also big when it comes to a job that is rewarding. 

As a forester or an environmental worker in general, you will work to actively improve the environments we live in for people and animals, and this means you’re having a major impact on life for a lot of us. Working to rebuild forests and reverse our detrimental impact on environments can be highly rewarding and enriching, and not to mention good for your health given that you’ll be in the great outdoors most of the time. 

  1. Optometrist

Another career hitting up to 80 per cent for satisfaction is the optometrist. 

We know that our eyes play a massive role in our everyday life, and when something goes awry here it can be very stressful and rather upsetting for both adults and children. As an optometrist, you’ll be looking at quite a big pay packet, as well as getting the chance to help people with vision problems. 

The Takeaway 

Keeping the above careers in mind, it’s easy to see that you can find great satisfaction in your job without needing to rely solely on the income it providers. With a career that gives you the chance to help others, you’re on track to getting the most out of your job.

Career Student Life

What Internship Is Right For You?

June 24, 2021

A key factor in getting the most out of your education is to gain as much experience as possible. It is important to remember that no experience is a bad experience, which is why procuring an internship during one’s college career is both important and exciting. An internship might seem intimidating, especially when you are going to be new and probably inexperienced, but that is exactly the point. You are meant to be learning as many new things as possible, and overcoming both obstacles and fears is what makes an internship worthwhile. Going through this process and gaining experience is great for not only building a resume, but also for making connections with the career world. With all of this on the horizon, the first step to getting experience under your belt is to decide which internship is right for you. 

Why An Internship?

Getting a job is definitely a great form of gaining experience, but most jobs that are available for students won’t provide work for the skillsets you are trying to enhance. Internships are a great way to find a passage that will ease you into a professional workplace. Whether an internship is paid or unpaid, the focus is to enhance what you are learning in your education as well as develop your understanding about a potential career. The experience you gain from being an intern is transferable to any job experience, therefore making it worthwhile. 

What Kind of Internships Are Out There?

There are many different types of internships out there. One is not worse than the other, but it is up to you which one fits best with what you are trying to achieve. Some internships are paid where others are not. When you are not getting paid, whomever you are working for will have big goals for you and give you projects to make your time meaningful, which can help with both your growth and the company’s. With a paid internship, you are able to gain both monetary and work-space experience. Learning about what to do with your money and getting into a position where you can be involved in budgeting as well as learning is a great way to get knowledge under your belt. Either way, focusing on your involvement and skill development is the most important aspect of an internship to look for, but don’t miss out on being assertive and responsible. Startup companies versus long term companies is a debate that differs for each situation, but there are advantages to both. Startups are smaller companies where there is more room for each employee to work on many different tasks and projects that are important to the company’s success. Big corporate companies may provide you with a specific task for your time. Startups are more open to taking different types of students with various majors, whereas corporate companies tend to focus on particular skill sets. 

Your Objective

Getting an internship is for your benefit, so it is important to keep your goals and objectives for the experience and the top of your check list. What are you trying to achieve? What skills are you trying to develop? As much as your company will be directing your projects, you are able to do the most with your experience and create opportunities to do as much as you can. When you are looking for internships and being interviewed, make sure to ask what your experience will look like, and don’t be afraid to go after the positions where you will be benefited most. 

There are so many opportunities throughout an educational career to explore and experience. An internship is a prominent path to take when looking for a balance of educational and work experience while in school. Take advantage of this opportunity, and keep in mind that this is a chance to enhance your skills and talents. Remember what you are looking for in an internship as it is a way to help you grow and learn how to help a company grow. All experiences are for your advantage!

BIO: Alessandra Gluck is currently a student at the Honors College at Arizona State University. She is double majoring in English Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communication. She is also a Member Intern at Grad Guard Insurance Company. Alessandra enjoys writing and plans to pursue this passion throughout graduate school.

Career Transition

Finding Meaning in Your Work

June 14, 2021

You might love your job but sometimes wonder what you’re actually contributing to the world. There’s a common misconception that you have to work for places like a charitable organization, a research lab creating cures for illnesses, or an activist group to make a difference. These are just examples, of course. But, sitting behind your desk might not always feel fulfilling.

Maybe it should.

By changing how you think about work, you’ll start to see there are small things you can do each day to make a difference and find meaning.

Not sure just what those everyday meaningful moments might look like? Let’s talk about what you can do and the impact it can have.

How to Find Fulfillment in Your Work

It’s not necessarily up to your job to bring you a sense of purpose. You have to decide what that is on your own, and come up with personal ways to make your life more meaningful. That often starts with changing your perspective.

Start within your business. How does your specific job impact your coworkers, clients, customers, or anyone you interact with? Consider some of the following careers in data analytics:

  • IoT specialist
  • Data orchestrator
  • Data hygienist
  • Machine teacher
  • CIO

On the surface, you might not think those careers are helping anyone. But, it’s about how you analyze data and what you do with it that makes a difference. Most researchers are collecting data and putting it to use for good reasons – mostly to help the planet and/or mankind. That’s something you can feel good about.

Are you a web designer or programmer? Consider how making the sites you create more accessible can help others to use the web freely. Do you work in marketing? Focus on “green” efforts that can reduce your agency’s carbon footprint. Are you a business person? Have a positive impact on your whole team by hosting brainstorming sessions and making everyone feel valued.

We could list examples all day. The point is, whether you’re a corporate CEO or flipping hamburgers for a living, you can find meaning in your work when you look for ways to do it.

Pursuing a Positive Career

If you’re just graduating college and entering the workforce, you have a unique opportunity. You get to choose your own career path and look for jobs that will provide you with a sense of meaning.

Consider what you’re truly passionate about and any jobs that might allow you to do something with them. If your biggest concern is the environment, for example, you might want to work for a business that is focused on sustainability efforts.

Even if you can’t directly work with a business dedicated to such things, you can be a voice and a light wherever you work. Change the company culture by advocating for recycling programs and environmentally-friendly upgrades. Again, seeking out ways to make changes and find meaning can make all the difference.

You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s the little things that count”. Consider the things you can do every day at your job – no matter how small – that might have a more meaningful impact on someone else than you originally thought. The more you focus on those things, the better you’ll feel about the purpose of your career.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Career Student Life Transition

10 Powerful Tips For Graduates Entering The Workforce During COVID-19

April 29, 2021

Across many industries, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused uncertainty, affecting employment and experience opportunities for new graduates entering the workforce. As one example, a growing number of candidates are now interviewed virtually, impacting the opportunity to build relationships with the people involved in recruiting.

On the extreme side of things, many of today’s recent graduates will also be required to start their professional careers from home. Here are some insights for successfully entering the workforce during COVID-19. 

#1: Don’t Stop Learning 

Graduating from college doesn’t mean you are done with learning. While the knowledge and certificate or degree you acquired are valuable possessions, they are not the only things that lead to success. Beyond academic knowledge, there are a lot of things left to be learned that will put you ahead of others in finding, achieving, and being successful in your work life.

#2: Look For Internships First 

Though it is good to have aspirations for high-paying jobs, it’ hard to go from graduate into lucrative roles without taking a few other steps first. The number of open vacancies for recent graduates is now limited than in the past. Businesses are still trying to figure out how COVID has impacted their company and the industry in general, and they aren’t willing to make financial commitments or take the same risks they did in the past. If entry-level positions are slim, check out internships. One could even land you a full-time position once it’s completed!

#3: Start Building A Portfolio 

A portfolio is documentary evidence of what you are capable of doing. When other candidates compete for the same jobs with traditional resumes and cover letters, having a portfolio will help to differentiate you as a valuable resource. When desirable opportunities are not available, consider starting private projects related to the types of jobs you’ll love to be doing in the future. Or, consider volunteering in similar roles to show your strengths.

#4: Commit To Proactive Networking 

Being proactive about networking will put you ahead of other people that are usually waiting in a reactionary mode. You might have heard that your net worth is directly related to your network.  And, most people are holding back interacting with others because of the pandemic….now is the time to stand-out and shine when others are waiting! If your LinkedIn profile isn’t already in top shape, spend some time to do and use it as one of your greatest networking tools.

#5: Embrace A Relentless Drive

For you to move from being a graduate into the world of work, you need a relentless drive. More than anything else, this characteristic will empower you to withstand inevitable obstacles you may discover along the way. And, you can share those learning experiences with potential employers. A strong work ethic can land you just about any job, regardless of experience.

#6: Be Adaptable To Change 

When you are entering the workforce as a graduate, you are bound to experience a lot of opportunities that don’t match your expectations. At that moment, your best bet is to be open and adaptable to change. All employers want people who can adapt and change course during challenging times. This goes along with your drive. Work hard and be relentless!

#7: Try New Things 

Both in terms of learning and networking, you must commit to trying new things. Another way to look at this is that you have to embrace going outside of your comfort zone. The world works differently because of COVID-19 and you need to learn how to adapt. This might mean taking the time to learn how to use the new software the company is using for all of its virtual meetings. Or, figuring out the ins and outs of a project management tool that seems confusing now, but will be instrumental in organizing your team’s projects down the line.

#8: Define Your Meaning of Success

The big question is this – what does career success mean to you? Once you clearly identify what success means to you, convey that to others in a way that relates to your personal values, vision, and life purpose. Once this is communicated clearly, others can understand how they can help you achieve this, and how it fits with their goals for recruiting the right talent.

#9: Set Measurable Goals 

Having a goal is important. But if you don’t have a way to measure progress towards accomplishment of your goals, achieving them is difficult. As important as it is to set goals, measuring progress, and modifying your strategy when needed, are also important. Don’t aim unrealistically high nor sell yourself short and aim too low.

#10: Find Your Internal Motivation 

Motivation is the fuel that drives people to accomplish their goals. Without it, life will seem like a challenge. However, people need to find what drives them and satisfies their sense of self-worth and purpose. External sources can motivate you to achieve some things for a little while; however, they’re limited in helping you attain long-term, sustained success.

Spend time gaining self-awareness about your strengths, your goals, your measures of success, and what can get in the way of attaining these things.  Once you understand yourself better, you’ll know what you need for continuous growth, and which career roles will be best for you.

Adulting Career

The Best Options for You After High School

April 27, 2021

When graduating high school, many people assume that the next obvious step is going to college; however, this is not the only option available to graduating seniors. There is an endless number of positive experiences and opportunities at your fingertips. Whether you want to explore, venture out into the professional world or learn more about yourself, there are boundless choices and paths in front of you. As you think about your next steps, here are a few of the best options for you to consider.

A Gap Year

If you want to take time to reflect, grow and learn, gap years can be a great option. Gap years have gained popularity in recent years due to the invaluable and incomparable lessons and opportunities for reflection that are difficult to replicate. You have the wondrous experience of venturing out into a new community and visiting new places within the structure and format of the gap year experience. You can learn from others their reasons on why take a gap year, so don’t be afraid to ask around to help you decide if a gap year is the best next step for you.

Volunteer

If you find yourself wanting to do something positive and productive with your time after graduating high school, volunteering can be a marvelous move. Keep in mind that volunteering won’t pay the bills; however, it can be a formative and impactful experience. Not only will you inevitably learn about the community that you are supporting, but you likely will learn a lot about yourself and benefit greatly through the process.

Professional Ventures

For those who want to test the waters of the professional world, don’t be afraid to start working following high school and delay further schooling for the time being. Whether you need to pay bills and as a necessity or you are looking to explore the startup world, there are plenty of reasons and opportunities to start work right away. Professional experience can also be a great way to set you up for success in college and leave you more prepared than you would have otherwise been.

Road Trips

Another quintessential high school graduate experience is a road trip. If you have never had a chance to truly explore the country, consider packing up your car and a few friends and taking a long road trip. Whether you schedule this before college or your gap year, this can be an exhilarating way to experience the world. Regardless of the length of your trip, don’t be afraid to take an adventure once you graduate high school.

College or University

You can always take a traditional path after high school and go to college. This is not just a chance to venture out from home. Whether you choose community college or a four-year college or university, the reality is that college can be challenging, and you need to be prepared and know what to expect. Whatever you choose, you should make sure that you select the option that best suits your needs, goals and next steps.

As you reach this pivotal point in life, don’t be afraid to take a detour or alter your path to find the best fit for your next chapter. Once you graduate high school, you have the world at your feet.