Preparing for Life After College

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Whether you’re a second semester freshman or a senior graduating in less than three weeks, life after college should be on your mind.

Every major within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences can open doors to numerous opportunities after graduation.  From graduate school to an actual career, the options are endless.  After all, keeping your options open is what the LAS college is all about.

So which career path will you take?  Before the job application and interview process begins, you need to have an idea, not only of what it is you want to do, but also of what it is you can do.

Here are six tips that will help get you to the job of your dreams after graduation!

Utilize Career Services!

This is the obvious one, but also the one often ignored.  Chances are you have probably already received several emails from career services inviting you to lectures about the perfect résumé and cover letter, and hopefully you attended them.  As a freshman, career services is what helped me decide to be a journalism major and now as a senior I go to them for portfolio tips and career suggestions.  If you haven’t yet, go visit them, they seriously help a lot more than you might think.

Obtain an Internship!

[caption id="attachment_14654" align="alignleft" width="149"] Me working as a video production intern

Many degree programs require internships, and with good reason.  Internships give you necessary experience outside the classroom.  While school can teach you all you need to know, nothing can prepare you for a real job like an internship can.  Whether it is a requirement or not, and whether it’s paid or not, if you have the chance, I suggest you be an intern.  Thanks to my current internship I will graduate with two years of journalism experience, knowing how to do things (like video production) that I never learned in a classroom.

Make Connections!

As sad as it is to say, these days job offers are granted through connections.  This in itself can make the application process even scarier, but it’s not as bad as you might think.  As an Iowa State student you already have tons of connections through your fellow students, faculty, advisers, and alumni.  All you have to do is reach out to those around you and talk to them about life after college and the connections will make themselves.

Maintain a Social Media Presence!


Do you have Facebook?  Twitter?   All of the above or more?  Great!  You are on your way to getting a job!  In today’s world, social media and communication are a huge deal and your social media can be what makes or breaks a potential job offer.  Before interviewing for a position, there is a good chance that the company will search your name and have access to every social media site that comes up.  People have been hired and fired over their social media, so make sure that yours portrays you in the best light at all times.  Being established on social media can actually help you obtain a job.  It shows that you are both social and capable of good communication.  However, having a negative or, for lack of a better word, trashy social media site can hurt your chances.

Get the Grades and Get Involved!

Everyone knows that you’re at college to get an education, and you’re probably paying for it so you might as well get the grades to prove it.  But being a 4.0 student means nothing if all you have to show is your transcript.  Involvement in campus clubs and organizations is just as important as making honors or dean’s list.  A good balance of activities and classes shows future employers not only that you are smart and involved, but that you can balance multiple tasks and manage your time as well.  The more capable you are of doing multiple things effectively and efficiently, the more likely they are to hire you.

Market Yourself!

My Online Portfolio

Last but not least, show off your talents!  Personally, I suck at interviews because I don’t like to talk about myself, but interviews are the one time you get to talk about yourself and all of your accomplishments.  Use your résumé, cover letters, portfolio, social media, and interviews to show potential employers what you have done and what you can.  Market yourself consistently across all mediums to tell employers not only why they should hire you, but why they need you.  Show them what makes you the best for the job!

There you have it!  Six easy steps to get you through college and into the job of your dreams.  Graduation will be here sooner than you think so use your time wisely.  By visiting career services, obtaining an interview, making connections, maintaining social media, getting good grades and getting involved, and marketing yourself, you will be ready to apply for jobs in no time.

Look out adulthood, here we come!

Posted by: Jane Morrison