Life Hacks

Keep Calm and Prepare for Graduation

Don't stress yourself out over graduation! Here are some tips that can help you prepare for the big day and beyond.

Close-up of a calendar
Close-up of a calendar. Photo by Dafne Cholet.  Reproduced with Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic

You made it. Through the years of group projects, late night cram sessions, low grades, and finals: You are finally in your senior year of university. Graduation day is quickly approaching. You may have realized that there are so many things you need to get done before then, but you don’t know where to start.

First, take a deep breath.

Here are some tips that may help you to prepare for graduation.

Talk to your advisor

If you are unsure about what you need to get done academically, go schedule an appointment to speak with your advisor. They should be able to help you figure out if you are on the right track to graduation. They may be able to also give you some advice on what to do if you have any other concerns about graduation.

Career Fairs
Fontbonne student talking to a representative from Abstrakt Marketing Group.

Step up your networking

It is important to start building up your LinkedIn profile and Purple Briefcase profile. Tracy Grundy, talent acquisition and retention specialist from Soft Surroundings, says that potential employers look for a strong profile that is related to the field that you are interested in. These websites are also a great way to connect with others and perfect for networking.  For a more personal approach to networking, Christine Keller, director of Career Development at Fontbonne, says that you should put yourself out there, like volunteering or going to job fairs. Go talk to other people because you never know who you might meet.

Get an idea of what you want to do

It is helpful for you to have an idea of what you want to do with your major after you graduate. It will help you hone in on a job that interests you. Also, this is the time to think about the possibility of grad school.

If you have no idea what you want to do—do not fret!  Here at Fontbonne, we have a Career Development office that can help you. They offer assessments that can help you figure out what direction you may want to take. Also, if you just have anxiety for the job search and what comes after, or you feel like you are just stuck, they can talk about that with you.

Create effective job searching documents

Cover letters and resumés are important tools you will need to use in your job search. Almedina Veletanlic, a campus recruiter from Northwestern Mutual, mentions that potential employers look to make sure these documents are strong and free of grammatical errors. It does not bode well for you if you use the wrong “there, their, or they’re” in your cover letter. Make sure you read over these documents. If you need help with organization or anything related to them, again, go see the Career Development office during their walk-in hours. They can help you put together strong and effective job search documents.

Begin applying now

Do not wait until after you graduate to start applying for jobs. Depending on the field you are interested in, you may want to start applying as early as 6 months in advance or around 3-4 months in advance.  Keller says that the job search can be difficult and there is rejection. In between sending out your cover letters and attending interviews, learn to reward yourself for your hard work.  An example of rewarding yourself would be if you set a goal to send out 3 cover letters in one day, your reward could be getting to take the next day off from your job search.

Lastly, remember to breathe

It may feel like there is pressure to find your dream job right out of college, but it does not need to be that way. While there are some people who do find their dream job right out of college and stay with them for the rest of their lives, that is not the case for everyone—and that is okay! “You are choosing your first step, not the rest of your life,” says Keller. So take another deep breath and remember that things will work out if you are persistent and open to all opportunities.

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