5 Tips to Hit the Ground Running after Graduation

As we head into summer, my Facebook feed has been filled with photos of my friends graduating from college. While the photos exude celebration, achievement, and pride (and rightfully so), the status updates that have followed or preceded these photos tell a much bigger story. Many recent grads are finding themselves unsure about the next step that they should take. Some are going back to school and some have jobs, but most are left wondering how they move forward.

I came across this infographic that my friends at MSW@USC created on life after college and it inspired me to share some of my thoughts about life once the tassel on the graduation cap is turned.

Now, I haven’t graduated from college, but I do know a thing or two about jumping into the real world headfirst. Here are my tips to success after graduation.

1. Find the appropriate amount of fear

While I think it is essential that you don’t let fear overcome your progress or ambition, the complete absence of fear is not always a good thing. When fear is absent, you risk taking things for granted or not understanding the obstacles ahead.

Finding the appropriate amount of fear allows you to acknowledge the obstacles ahead, but with courage and resiliency. It allows you to look at the rejections as learning experiences, rather than setbacks, and ultimately will prepare you for a strong career, not just the initial job search.

2. Be open to change

This is simple. Do NOT pigeon hole yourself based on your resume or degree. Be open to new opportunities and challenges, because the best opportunity for you is probably going to be something you never expected.

Too many times I’ve seen job seekers write off opportunities or even themselves because they were unsure they were qualified or it wasn’t exactly what they planned for. Never write yourself off! Let the employers do that if they feel its necessary. Be open to new opportunities and change – you’ll never know what you’ll find.

3. Continue to learn

If you’re willing, you’ll probably learn more about yourself and your upcoming career in the short time after you graduate than you did in college. The lessons may come differently and will come from all types of teachers and mentors. Be a sponge, because these are the real lessons that will stick with you.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

To follow up the continuation of learning, you should never be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need someone to introduce you to a friend or review your cover letters, never hesitate to ask. Almost everyone I know that has landed a job in their field has done so because they sought out advice, guidance, or a direct connection to the company they were applying to.

We are in a job market that is driven more and more by referrals and who you know – you do not want to put yourself at a disadvantage by flying solo.

5. Find what is right for you

Do not chase money or settle on your first job. Pursue what is best for your career and growth as a professional. Being a recent grad puts you at an advantage in the sense that you have your entire career in front of you and you can dictate what direction you want to go in. Follow your passion now while you can and reap the benefits for years to come.

Which tips will you use to navigate the post-graduation world?


Harrison is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. As evidenced through his previous projects, Harrison has a passion for all things social media, philanthropy, and finding new ways for students to understand the power of a brand. Before moving to New York and while still a student at Temple University, Harrison founded the PR/Social Media consulting firm, Kratz PR as well as Engage TV and the #PRStudCast podcast.  Feel free to connect with him to discuss community, social good, branding, or the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, @KratzPR or Linkedin

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