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