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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 June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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