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6 Career Tips for Recent Graduates

6 Career Tips for Recent Graduates

If your cap and gown are retired to the closet, your diploma is behind glass, and ramen noodles are no longer a viable meal option, then you must be a recent graduate. Once the post-graduation dust settles, the next step in life is starting a career. In order to get the real world ball rolling in the right direction, here are 6 career tips for recent graduates that’ll help you with everything it takes to land your first job.

1. Put Your Résumé to Work

That 8.5 by 11-inch document known as your résumé is probably one of the most important parts of landing your first job. Because your résumé is literally your first impression, it not only has to teeter on perfection—it needs to work for you. To accomplish this, think of that all-important document as an unfinished novel.

In other words, editing your résumé is a never-ending job, especially considering the fact that the professional world frowns upon grammatical errors. Once you ensure syntactic perfection, also make sure your résumé is up to date. This means keeping all your education, work experience, accomplishments, and the accompanying dates current. Remember, a good résumé is always read, but a great one will land you an interview.

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2. Get Social With Your Networking

Social media is a great way to network with friends and family, so it’s no wonder that social sites are also an effective approach when it comes to networking professionally. Get out there and let the social media world know you’re a recent college graduate who is ready for a new career.

With social media, you can advertise your skills sets for the job, qualifications, and even post a PDF of your flawless résumé for the entire digital world to see. Just remember, if you’re using existing social accounts, clean up your act. This means deleting any pictures or comments you might consider questionable. Better yet, just start new accounts from scratch and consider them your professional approach to social networking.

3. Interview Like a Pro

Did your perfectly written, up-to-date résumé land you an interview? Of course it did, so now it’s time to nail your interview and lock down the job that’ll inevitably lead to your long career. When it comes to interviewing advice, don’ts are sometimes just as important as the dos.

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With that in mind, the best advice for any inexperienced interviewee is to have a good answer for every potential question. Some answers will come easier than others, but anticipating questions before the interview will help you sound that much more prepared when the interview is in full swing.

4. Put Passion First and Money Second

It might not seem like the best approach to take in the short run, especially when you keep coming up dry with the job search. But, if you are looking to find jobs that will lead to a career, then do it for the love, not the cash. That is, don’t just settle for a high paying job that makes you miserable day after day.

Ask anyone with long-term experience in the work force and they’ll tell you: a job that makes you happy is worth more than a huge paycheck. Seek out jobs that you’re passionate about and choose a career path that enriches your life—you can’t go wrong.

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5. Make a Post-Grad Budget

One of the biggest stressors during your post-grad career search is staying afloat financially until you find your first job. That’s why coming up with a reasonable job-hunt budget is so important. Not only will a budget help you stretch your money while you’re searching for work, it’ll also take the desperation factor out of the equation.

Think about it. If you’re stressed about finding a job because of other financial obligations, that stress will filter down through everything, including your interviews. Keeping a reasonable budget during your job search will keep you calm and also give you the opportunity to turn down jobs that aren’t necessarily the right fit.

6. Be Patient

A final word of advice for all those post-grad wanderers in search of work is patience. Preparation in combination with experience and a modest living will eventually lead to the right job—it might just take a little longer than you think.

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By following the advice above, your post-grad job search will lead to a successful career.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills

10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills

Do you often feel stressed out with too much work or too many responsibilities? As time passes, do you feel like you have more tasks on hand than you have time to do them?

The trick is to organize your tasks and use your time effectively to get more things done each day. This can help you to lower stress levels and improve your productivity both at work and at home.

Time management skills take time to develop and will look different for each person. Finding what works best for you and your busy schedule is key here.

To get you started, here are 10 ways to improve your time management skills and increase productivity.

1. Delegate Tasks

It is common for all of us to take on more tasks than we are capable of completing. This can often result in stress and burnout.

Delegation does not mean you are running away from your responsibilities but are instead learning proper management of your tasks. Learn the art of delegating work to your subordinates as per their skills and abilities and get more done. This will not only free up time for you but will help your team members feel like an integral piece of the work puzzle.

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2. Prioritize Work

Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time, and we tend to offer these too much of our energy because they are easier or less stressful.

However, identifying urgent tasks that need to be completed on that day is critical to your productivity. Once you know where to put your energy, you will start to get things done in an order that works for you and your schedule.

In short, prioritize your important tasks to keep yourself focused.

3. Create a Schedule

Carry a planner or notebook with you and list all the tasks that come to your mind. Being able to check off items as you complete them will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.

Make a simple ‘To Do’ list before the start of the day, prioritize the tasks, and focus on the essentials. Make sure that these tasks are attainable, too. If there is a big task you need to complete, make that the only thing on your list. You can push the others to the next day. 

To better manage your time management skills, you may think of making 3 lists: work, home and personal.

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4. Set up Deadlines

When you have a task at hand, set a realistic deadline and stick to it. Once you set a deadline, it may be helpful to write it on a sticky note and put it near your workspace. This will give you a visual cue to keep you on task.

Try to set a deadline a few days before the task is due so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline; reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge.

5. Overcome Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the things that has a negative effect on productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy. It could be a major problem in both your career and your personal life[1].

Avoiding procrastination can be difficult for many. We tend to procrastinate when we feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to schedule in smaller, fun activities throughout the day to break up the more difficult tasks. This may help you stay on track.

6. Deal With Stress Wisely

Stress often occurs when we accept more work than we are capable of accomplishing. The result is that our body starts feeling tired, which can affect our productivity.

Stress comes in various forms for different people, but some productive ways to deal with stress can include:

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  1. Getting outside
  2. Exercising
  3. Practicing meditation
  4. Calling up a friend
  5. Participating in your favorite hobby
  6. Listening to music or a podcast

The key is to find what works for you when it comes to lowering your stress response. If you don’t have time for anything else, try a couple of breathing techniques. These can be done in minutes and have been proven to lower stress-inducing hormones.

7. Avoid Multitasking

Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done, but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.

Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focused! This way you can do better at what you’re doing. Wait until you finish one before starting another. You’ll be surprised by how much more you’re able to get done.

8. Start Early

Most successful people have one thing in common — they start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day.

When you get up early, you are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels start going down, which affects your productivity, motivation, and focus[2].

If you’re not a morning person, you can just try waking up thirty minutes earlier than your normal time. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done in that bit of time. If you don’t want to use it to work, use it to do a bit of exercise or eat a healthy breakfast. This kind of routine will also contribute to your productivity during the day.

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9. Take Regular Breaks

Whenever you find yourself feeling tired and stressed, take a break for 10 to 15 minutes. Too much stress can take a toll on your body and affect your productivity.

And even better, schedule your break times. It helps you to relax and gets back to work with energy again later. If you know a break is coming, you’ll likely be able to overcome boredom or a lack of motivation to push through the task at hand.

Take a walk, listen to some music, or do some quick stretches. The best idea is to take a break from work completely and spend time with your friends and family.

10. Learn to Say No

Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you’re already overloaded with work. Take a look at your to do list before agreeing to take on extra work.

Many people worry that saying no will make them look selfish, but the truth is that saying no is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your time. When you take care of this, you’ll find you have more energy to devote to the important things, which the people around you will ultimately appreciate.

Final Thoughts

When you get clear about what’s on your plate, you’ll be more focused and get more done in less time.

Good time management requires a daily practice of prioritizing tasks and organizing them in a way that can save time while achieving more. Use the above strategies for few weeks and see if they help you. You may be surprised just how much more time you seem to have.

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Featured photo credit: Brad Neathery via unsplash.com

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