Ask Lauren: I’m Graduating, Now What?

 

Ask Lauren: I'm Graduating, Now What?

For many of you, college graduation is on the near horizon. You’re excited, anxious and probably a little unsure about how to prepare yourself for your first year in the real world. That’s where I come in! Today I’m going to be sharing some tips for landing your first job, deciding where to live, and getting ready to make it on your own.

Here are 5 ways to tackle post grade life head-on…

  1. Network with contacts. 
    I think it’s safe to say that most graduates are primarily concerned with landing a job. While the job hunt can seem daunting and overwhelming, I promise you that if you put in the effort you will come out ahead. The first place to start when looking for a job is reaching out to all the professional contacts you have made, whether that means grabbing coffee with your previous employer or emailing fellow interns you worked with in the past. You might be pleasantly surprised with how many opportunities come your way from networking alone. And even if your contacts don’t know of any jobs right now, you will have put yourself on their radar for the future.
  2. Brush up on your interview skills. 
    Your next step is to prepare for potential interviews. Once you’ve reached out to your contacts, an interview could come your way at any moment, and you definitely do not want to go into a state of panic. Take a peek at my 10 tips for mastering an interview and make sure you’re wearing appropriate attire for the company you’re interviewing at. I suggest trying on your outfit the night before and preparing some questions for yourself to feel confident. You also want to make sure that you’re interviewing for a position you are interested in. Your first job might not be your dream job, but it should definitely be one that makes you happy.
  3. Decide where you want to live. 
    Take some time to yourself to think about where you want to be for this next chapter of your life. If you are not sure, narrow your options down to about three cities you would want to live in and make sure you are interviewing for jobs in those cities. Then ask around to find friends who want to live in the same city as you do. If you’ve always wanted to go to try something new, now is the time to make that leap. Or, if you’re close to your family and went to college far away, now is the time to get back to your roots. Your options are endless. Once you land your job and decide where to live, secure your roommates and go apartment hunting. You might not find the perfect place right away, so don’t settle for the first listing you come across.
  4. Set up your finances. 
    Creating a realistic budget is crucial after graduation. If you aren’t in a position to be completely financially independent yet (maybe you need a few months at your new job), set up a meeting with your parents and see if they are able to provide a little outside support while you get on your feet. Draft up a budget spreadsheet and go over it with your parents. They will most likely be impressed with your preparedness and willing to help you get your start in the real world.
  5. Don’t stress! 
    While this is the beginning of an exciting new phase of life, it’s also the end of a very special chapter. Don’t get so caught up in making plans for the future that you forget to enjoy the present! Take time to walk around your campus by yourself and enjoy the scenery. Eat at the freshman cafeteria. Appreciate your professors and they lessons they teach. Be wild with your girlfriends. And wear your cap and gown proudly when the big day comes. While finding a job and deciding on a place to live might seem stressful, there’s really no rush. You have your entire life to start working, but you only have a few weeks left to be a college student. Enjoy this time and make the most of it!

What question would you like to see me answer for my next Ask Lauren post?

XO Lauren

Photo: carrie beth of sugar b designs
Categories: Grow
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  • Kateez

    This is some great advice Lauren. I just wish I knew I what to do! I left uni last June and I’m living with my parents. I haven’t got the finances to support myself and my parents can’t help so I can’t move somewhere with more jobs but equally there are no jobs in my area. It’s very disheartening. I can’t move forward in my life but equally all my friends are still at uni with longer courses so I can’t let loose and relax!

    Any suggestions?

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    Oh my God I love this. I am only a freshman at this point, but a few of my friends are seniors and I know how excited, nervous, stressed and kind of sad to be leaving all of them are. These are some really great pieces of advice.

    http://allthatglitters.co.nr

  • Alice P

    I love this 2 post!!! I really need of this suggestions now!! I’m just in this part of my life..I’ve to decide to leave my parents, find a job, and where to live!! I’d like to know about move for some months in another country and in a big new city..how to face up to homesick and how to make new friends in a big city!!! Thank you so much for this suggestions I needed it so much!!

  • hooleywithaz

    networking is SO important. i always tell my younger siblings to just get out there and have informational meetings with people as much as you can. you never know who will help you get your job!
    http://hooleywithaz.com

  • Maria

    I’m coming to the end of college now… Great tips for what’s ahead!! :D City-wise I’m thinking of moving from Dublin to New York! :D
    http://www.mariaodonoghue.ie

  • Christy Tab

    What to wear for a graduation as a guest? Is at 3pm

  • Rachel Trampel

    These are great tips and things I wish I had known 3 years ago when I graduated.

    One… I didn’t set a budget, instead I freaked out because it was my first time on my own paying for everything. I wasn’t eating enough during that time because I was afraid to spend too much on groceries. Silly now that I think about it!

    Also, not stressing is key! Keep pushing to find a job and honestly it won’t be your dream job. Maybe a few lucky people will land on that, but most start somewhere. I am at my second job now and love it! The first one was not ideal but I learned a lot and met a lot of great people.

    http://www.rachelslookbook.com

  • Kellie Norton

    It’s almost been a year now since I graduated college, and oh my word I wish I could go back and do it one more time! This tips are so helpful! Definitely could have used this post last year :-)

    -Kellie

  • My Style Diary
  • Claire Elizabeth

    Thank you Lauren!! I needed this so much right now! So helpful for my upcoming graduation in May!

  • Rebecca H

    With my law school graduation on May 10 looming large, this is exactly what I needed to see! Thinking about the future and finding a job has been a huge stress factor, and has pushed the excitement of this milestone into the background. These are great tips, and I’ll be putting them to use ASAP!

  • Ashlee Thurlow

    Money is so huge! Thank you for mentioning it, so many women just hope it goes away but we have to learn about it so we can rock our lives! :)

  • Lauren Coulter

    I’m graduating undergrad next weekend, so this is perfect timing for me!

  • Ashley

    Great tips for those just graduating as well as anyone who is starting a new chapter in their life! http://dreamliveandrepeat.blogspot.com/

  • Emily Gemma

    These are spot on! Do you all ever take guest bloggers?!!!

  • Tals

    Could you post something about finding graduation dresses for your body type/skin type/personal style? That would be so helpful considering my graduation is coming up in a couple weeks

  • Leanne

    Great tips!

    Love from South Africa

    http://arumlilea.blogspot.com

  • kasia swierzewska

    Could you possibly share a few useful tips for starting a small business please? ☺♥

  • Deanne Castro

    Thanks for the tips! This is very helpful to those who are not sure what to do! :)

    For more on fashion and beauty, please check out my blog: http://myfashavenue.com/ Today’s post: Faveourite Celebrity of The Week: Kate Hudson.

    Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/myfashavenue and Pinterest http://pinterest.com/MyFashAvenue/

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    Deanne

  • Jen Briggs

    More like tips for the 1%. If only we all had the luxury to wait around for that “”perfect”” job and have our parents pay our rent and student loans. In reality, my parents with MBAs are just as unemployed as I am.

  • 6elii

    soo good!!! and if you have a boyfriend? can you help? if you have a boyfriend and no one knows what’s next? please lauren!! help!

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  • MMMMMMM

    I wish someone had a blog or advice column for those who “”post-grad”” are transitioning into GRADUATE school, and not the career world. Or, that someone had highlighted to me that choosing the school to attend as a graduate student is a combination of where you want to live as a young professional AND student, and not just a good academic/student university. I probably would have chosen a very different university to attend, solely due to location – even though I’m attending a top-tier university.

    The problem with transitioning into graduate school, is that you are a young professional, but you are still a student. Ranked above the undergraduate students, but below the faculty. You can’t hangout with the undergrads (you might end up teaching them, or their friends – and you WILL ABSOLUTELY regret taking those five shots of fireball with them at some point in your academic career. Or, at least regret the photos of that night.). Likewise, you can’t hangout with the faculty – for pretty much the exact same reason that you can’t be friends with the undergrads. This leaves you with two choices for socializing: 1. your fellow graduate students, or, 2. other young professionals in the community (let’s call them the “”traditional”” young professionals).

    Now, I realize that what I’m about to say is highly program specific. Hey, you might be a business student who has a crazy cool cohort, full of awesome new people you are dying to become great friends with! This probably isn’t the case, though. Depending on what you are getting a Masters or PhD in (and where), your fellow grad students will range from the kid who LARPS on the weekends; to the straight A socially awkward geek still in braces who drools while staring at you during statistics; to potentially, maybe, one semi-normal other student who might have the slightest idea of how to interact with you without bringing up WoW.

    [Side Note: after my first week as a new graduate student, I had to look up a couple words when I asked about weekend plans. For example, LARPing means Live Action Role Playing. If you have seen the movie Role Models, this is when you dress up like an idiot/wizard/knight/elf/stable boy and have a battle for supremacy in a random field or park. And before you ask, no, it is not a drinking game]

    So, if you happen to be a normal individual in a program with some very nice individuals who you would never want to interact with outside of the department, you are going to need to make friends with some traditional young professionals. And if you just moved to a new city for graduate school and don’t know anyone, and/or the town isn’t oriented to young professionals – you’re out of luck and stuck for the next five years unless you do something drastic.

    By drastic, I mean start googling creative ways to meet friends. It is something you never really think about, and no one really talks about. How do you make a girl friend? I am a super nice person. That said, it is much, much harder than it sounds. Two years into my program, I can honestly say that I’ve mad myself a nice little group of friends. However, after my first semester, I almost dropped out of school because I was so unhappy. Even with full funding, a generous stipend, wonderful mentor, etc.

    Transitioning into the real world from college is a different experience for everyone. But there are a lot of resources out there on how to have the best experience entering into your “”career”” and virtually nothing on entering graduate school. The two being vastly different. Particularly entering into academia as a female. Even more specifically, as a female in the sciences. Some advice on entering into the world of academia that pertains to ones personal/social life (i.e. not how to get started on your dissertation) would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Does anyone else have any thought on this? Opinions? Resources they might want to share? Or, maybe I’m alone in this… But personally, I wish someone had told me that I should worry more about how to make friends in my new city, than how to dress to impress on my interview or how to spruce up my vita.

  • Kelly Burt

    I am currently a college student. I should be graduating this semester but I did things a litte differently and took some time off and switched majors. Now, it set me back and I recently found out that I have 2 more years left in school. I am a Liberal Arts major with a concentration in writing nd art history. I am really not sure what I want to do once I graduate. I have plenty of interests and I now that I can have lots of potential, but I think it is a matter of bringing out that potential. I am not really sure how to go about doing this. Any ideas? If you could consider this for your next ask me post, that would be wonderful. Thank you!! xoxo.

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  • Paulina Mo

    Awesome tips!! I think what was most helpful for me post-grad was having interned and then worked at a lower position with a mentor who I highly admired… the networking there was endless and slowly but surely lead me to the career I wanted. It takes a lot of time and patience.

    ~Pau
    my fashion blog: http://www.lilbitsofchic.com

  • Kristen Moreno

    i remember how stresed out i was after graduation! but all of my internships and interview skills paid off! work hard ladies and network!

    Hey Guys, check out my Beauty Review Accounts:

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  • stephaniesstyle

    These are great tips. I recently graduated and now i am like: YES IM FREE…BUT what now? Jobs are not easy to find, neither are houses.
    xx Stephanie (www.stephaniesstyleblog.blogspot.com)

    • http://taty-in-newyork.blogspot.de tatystrahlendberg

      Hi Stephanie,

      did you already find a job? I am super curious to find recent graduates or job starters to write a featured story on my blog (happy to share your blog information as well). Are you up for that? :) Want to read more? Or even contribute your own story ([email protected])?
      http://bit.ly/FutureIamready

      Here a little more information! Would be super happy to hear back from you!

      Hugs from Germany!

      Taty*

      http://taty-in-newyork.blogspot.de

  • Shayla

    These were incredibly straight forward in an obvious way. Btw, not everyones parents can afford to help them.

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