life

Advice from a Post Grad

A sorority sister contacted me, asking for advice on internships and life after graduation. As I wrote, it seemed as if I was writing to my past self. The following post is to the junior who is worried about finding an internship, and to the senior who will be graduating in a few months.

This April will be the second anniversary of my college graduation.  First off, I want you to know that what you are feeling is completely normal! Second, I personally hate the term “real world,” because every college/company/organization/etc. is in their own little bubble, and everyone has their own perception of reality.

By my senior year, I just took the classes I needed to graduate, and put more focus into my internship. In my last semester, I got an internship with an inbound marketing company. As a Content Writer Intern, I wrote blog posts for various companies and found that to be very interesting. Now whenever I see a company’s website, I always remember that there is a face behind the blog! In this internship, the blog posts utilized search engine optimization (SEO) copywriting, which is a fancy term for using key words to rank higher on Google searches. In this internship, I was expected to write a few blog posts a week in the company’s format. The blog posts were written almost as advertisements.

I did this internship for class credit; other than fulfilling the on-site responsibilities, I also had to write a weekly summary of what I was doing at the internship for my adviser. Since each class I took needed some kind of final capstone, such as a paper, my internship supervisor (who also happened to be one of my friends) coached me through writing an e-book that the company still uses today.

Before I graduated, I made a LinkedIn profile. I wouldn’t say that it has drastically helped me get a job, but it is a good tool to have for prospective employers if they decide to do a Google search on you. Often, potential coworkers will search your digital fingerprint to get an idea of the type of person they may be working with.

If you’re nervous about looking for an internship, see your academic adviser and ask if they have any recommendations. Or, you can ask the other professors in your program; I’m sure they would know of any local opportunities.

Try not to be nervous! The more confident you are, the more you will stick out to an employer. And, there’s also nothing wrong with not knowing what to do. That’s what an internship is for! It’s a learning process! I embarrassed myself the first day of my internship – the boss took me out to lunch, and my sandwich fell apart as I was holding it! It fell back onto the plate and onto my lap while I had a mouthful! I wanted the floor to swallow me up. And you know what? It was a quick laugh, and the conversation went back to business.

My internship became my job after graduation; I have good memories of 2013 because for most of that year, I spent it working from home and creating my own schedule. It was great! …Until I realized I would need to get my own benefits. I was also only getting paid per article, so I knew I couldn’t stay there forever. In November of 2013, I became a secretary for a local college. That wasn’t the worst job I’ve had, but some of the people were not so nice. I definitely learned a lot about working with different types of people, especially difficult personalities. You might encounter people who seem to want nothing more than to belittle you and make you feel like you know nothing; ignore those people; don’t let them get to you, and remember that there is something you know a lot about that they don’t know. Whatever that is, hold onto it and then sing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs on your commute back home. (If only “Shake It Off” was on the radio then!)

After a little less than a year of working there, I got my current job. I love my job, I love what I do, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue my graduate degree.

When it’s time for you to start looking for jobs, I highly recommend using Indeed.com. You can search for keywords in your field and enter in your zip code and the website will find job openings in your area. If you were in a Greek organization, contact your local alumni chapter to see if anyone can help you network in your particular field.

I will say that I regret not enjoying my college experience enough. I was so focused on the future, that I forgot to take a look at the present.

Let’s recap:

  • Pre-graduation jitters are absolutely normal.
  • Make a LinkedIn profile.
  • See your academic adviser for any possible internship opportunities in your area.
  • Don’t be nervous!
  • Use Indeed.com or other similar websites to find local jobs.
  • Use your Greek organization to network in your field.
  • Enjoy where you are at in your life at this moment.

Just remember that you don’t need to figure out everything in this moment. Life will fall into place in one way or another.

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