For most of you, exams are finished and you are headed home hoping for some relaxation (sleep) and fun. But if you are not certain yet what you will be doing when you graduate, there may also be anxiety and stress associated with your visit home.. To make matters worse – there are well-meaning people who care about you (parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, neighbors, parents of friends – basically everyone you will run into over vacation) who will find a way to ask questions like: “Ryan you are going to be graduating – how exciting! What are your plans after graduation?” I know, I know – most of you would rather wash my kitchen floor than deal with that question.
Here are three tips that can help you prepare for these questions.
1) Prepare for those questions.
You don’t have to have a job secured to answer this question. You don’t even have to have a rock solid, locked down direction – but you do need a working hypothesis.
Are you a marketing major? Think about the types of businesses or non-profits you would enjoy working with. Is it high tech? Is there a specific nonprofit direction you would like to bring marketing skills to? Share that.
Maybe you are a film major – what part of creating a film are you most interested in? Is it editing, directing, production, set design?
Do you want to be an occupational therapist? What populations are you most interested in? Where do you want to start getting your experience? Is it working with children? Is it working with people with traumatic injuries?
It’s like taking a camera and bringing a picture into focus. At this moment, it doesn’t have to be perfectly clear – but we need to be able to tell what is in the picture!
Consider this as an example of an answer to that question: “Well I think you know that my major is Film and Media Culture. I am planning on moving to NYC after graduation to find editing work with a small film company. I had an amazing internship with Florentine Films last summer which helped me clarify aspects of filmmaking I was most interested in and gave me some solid experience with key editing software.
Perhaps you are less clear. Not a problem. Let’s say you are a psychology major and you want to get some clinical experience before you go back to graduate school in a few years. You can say, “I know I want to be in a treatment environment. Although I am honestly open to a lot of different populations and environments, right now I am most interested in working with adults who are dealing with either substance abuse or trauma issues. A perfect start to a conversation.
2) Now – SEEK THESE CONVERSATIONS OUT OVER THE HOLIDAYS!
Banish the words “I don’t know” from your conversations and share your working hypothesis. Tell people what you are interested in, ask them about what advice they might have for someone like you just starting out. Listen to what they say. Ask them these three important things: first, if they have anyone in their network that they think would be helpful for you to talk with. Second, if you can stay in touch with them as you move towards graduation and maybe get some feedback on your resume. Lastly, ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Of course this means you need to be on LinkedIn – so the third suggestion is…
3) If you aren’t on LinkedIn – get on it and start connecting with other people.
It is pretty intuitive and simple; and very important.
So Happy Holidays All! The best way to get rid of this lurking career stress is to get into an action mode. If you are having trouble getting going, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE conversation.