Checklists are always great for staying organized, remembering key things to accomplish and keeping tabs on progress. And for recent graduates, these come in handy, especially since they’re prepping to enter into their next life and career phases. It’s better to start the journey on the right track than to be scrambling trying to catch up. Try this checklist of things you must do post graduation to ensure you’re on the right (career) track:
Follow the networking 90/10 rule. You know it’s important to build your professional community and connect with people to tap the hidden job market. Plan to spend 90 percent of your time being seen and heard so others can consider you for opportunities. Social media is a great way to network, but only spend 10 percent of your time behind your computer. Maximize in-person connections to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Empower your network. In addition to the graduation well-wishers, your friends and family are probably asking how they can help. Tell them what you do well so they know how to connect you with their circles of influence. If you have specific organizations you want to work for, ask your network to check their connections to see if they can make a personal referral.
Share your strengths in story form so your network has an easy-to-remember conversation to share with others that illustrates what makes you unique and employable.
Be your own PR agent. Keep your resume, personal business cards and professional portfolio with you everywhere you go. Become your best advocate, and always be ready to discuss how you bring value to an organization.
You’re responsible for marketing yourself. In this ultra-competitive market, there’s no such thing as top of the class entitlement. It doesn’t matter where you minted your degree or how high your GPA was; you must be able to showcase what you do well and demonstrate your emotional intelligence and strengths.
Get LinkedIn. With over 200 million members, LinkedIn is the number one professional networking resource. Recruiters and headhunters troll this site regularly searching for new talent.
Fill out your profile fully, use a professional photo, compose a compelling summary statement and seek out recommendations to endorse you for specific skills and accomplishments. Join groups, participate in discussions. Use this tool often and to your advantage. A dormant LinkedIn account will do you no good.