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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 October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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