The winter holidays are quickly approaching and this year, you are in for a very special present: college graduation! After toiling away in classes for years, it is finally time to step out into a brand new world of possibilities.
Unfortunately, for the December graduates out there, this world of endless possibilities starts filling up pretty quickly. There’s the stress that comes from moving mid-season, the social pressures of transitioning from school to professional life and the constant reminders of holiday obligations; soon enough, your early present is starting to look like a big old lump of coal.
Fight those December grad blues by considering these tips below. You’ve earned these next couple of months, so here’s how to make the best of them on your way to a long, fulfilling career:
The Sooner, the Better
If you’ve had graduation on the brain, there’s a good chance you may have already been looking at positions in your desired field, maybe even started applying to a few! If not, there’s no time like the present. But beware; there will always be countless excuses for not starting your search:
“I need to go shopping for gifts,”
“No one is hiring this time of year!”
“I’ll start in the new year.”
Do not let these unfounded notions stall your progress! Start your search as soon as possible following graduation, and try making a routine stick. Maintaining a regular schedule of continued independent education, coupled with professional development and job searching, will help in your transition.
Expand your Options
While college can be a great environment for trying new things and expanding your mind, any place you’ve grown overly comfortable with can cause you to limit your risk taking. Now is the perfect time to look beyond your major and regular hobbies, and begin thinking outside of the box. What is a skill you’ve always wanted to hone? What positions might you be good at that don’t necessarily fit under your major? What professional organizations are out there for me to join?
Post-graduation can feel like a trap sometimes; the possibilities are out there, but you don’t feel prepared to fully embrace them. If you’re feeling stuck, expand outside of your comfort zone; volunteer work is a great example of an available option that allows you to test out your skill set, while positively impacting those in need.
Build that “Wow” Factor
This winter is not vacation time; it’s preparation time. If you cannot find available positions in your field of interest, consider revisiting your application materials. Adding additional pieces to a portfolio, beefing up resume sections or creating multiple cover letters that fit specific purposes are great ways to prepare for the application processes ahead. You’re about to enter a crowded job market, so take this time to find what will make you stand out.
Depending on your ability to plan ahead, graduating in December can feel like walking in a winter wonderland, or getting an unfortunate visit from Krampus. Taking a few steps now to prepare yourself for the journey ahead may make all the difference!
Do you have any other tips for new grads? We’d love to hear them below!