It’s that time of year again! Campuses are winding down, the stress of exams are finally over, and the day you’ve been working towards for four years has finally arrived. You’ve walked across the stage in your flowing black gown and received the degree or diploma you’ve been working so hard for. But now what?
I was recently in that same state of limbo – that awkward stage we’ve all experienced between being a full-time student to being a full-time “job hunter extraordinaire.” But there are a few things that I’ve learned over the past four years, even over the past few months, that helped make this transition into the “real world” a little easier.
1. Make Yourself Stand Out
It’s a cliché, but it stands true. No matter what industry you find yourself in, ensuring that you have something different to offer employers than the rest of your fellow graduates is extremely important. You can test out those HTML and CSS skills and build your own website that will blow employers away! Teach yourself how to use Photoshop or Illustrator just because—you never know; it may come in handy one day. Most importantly, be yourself. Embrace your quirks and your uniqueness and sell them!
2. Network. Network. Network.
Did I mention network? It’s all about who you know. Avoid sitting around and waiting for opportunities to come to you, go out there and make it happen! If you join industry societies, like CPRS (The Canadian Public Relations Society) or IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), they provide you with opportunities to attend or volunteer at industry related events and with that, you can meet new professionals and maybe even your future employer!
3. Tell Stories
One of the key takeaways that I took note of from my four years at university is the importance of storytelling. It’s what we do as media professionals. Whether we’re telling our clients stories when we release new products or when we’re holding press conferences, we’re always sharing. When you’re editing your resume and cover letter, tell a story. When that story lands you an interview, have an even better story in your back pocket. People remember stories and it will leave your interviewer with a long-lasting impression of you.
Whether your definition of success means landing that dream job at an amazing PR agency or traveling the world and taking a break from it all, by taking these three tips into consideration, you’re already one step closer to being successful after graduation!