11 Future Prep Tips Before Graduation
It always helps to have some future prep tips at the standby as you gear up for the spring semester. This is even more vital when you’re looking ahead at graduation in the next few months. In the following article, we’ll be discussing the 11 essentials you absolutely have to get done. But first, let’s look at what happens when you aren’t prepared.
Dangers of Not Preparing
Lack of preparation is probably the number one reason people fail across industries and majors. They may lie and tell themselves they’re just not smart or talented enough, but those are simply excuses. Excuses that can cost big-time in the following ways:
Losing Track of Time
One of the first dangers of being ill-prepared is losing track of time and getting too far behind the proverbial 8-ball to catch up. When this happens, even the most focused and concerted efforts may not be enough. Time moves quickly, and it is not your friend if you fail to be aware of this fact and act accordingly.
Jobless at Graduation
This is a major concern for those of you who are graduating from college. The last thing you want to do is end up living with Mom and Dad again after four years of glorious independence. Not preparing by getting out applications and honing your skills will find you slipping back into childhood. (Well, depending on how cool your parents are with having to take you in.)
Being No Closer to Your Calling
Lack of preparation also brings you no closer to knowing what you want to do with your life. And it potentially leaves you with mountains of debt in the process. Who wants to find themselves closing out a chapter of their lives having learned nothing about their purpose? Not us!
Missing Key Opportunities Right Under Your Nose
Finally, lack of preparation means you could be blinding yourself to the opportunities that do exist for people in your position. As you progress from high school graduation to college graduation, more will be asked of you. You’ve got to get in a mindful headspace where you’re aware of the opportunities even if you don’t go after every last one.
Now that you know what it means to not be prepared, let’s check out the absolute must-do list before graduation. Many of these are written with the college student in mind, but it’s never too early to start. So listen up, high school seniors!
1. Build a Resume
What do you put on a resume when you have limited work experience? Well, it’s really no different than what you would put on it if you had loads of work experience.
- Educational background
- Relevant work experience including but not limited to paid employment (think volunteer work)
- Special skills you possess
- Contact information
The simple act of building a resume, even one with little on it, will set you to thinking about what should be on it. From there, it’s much easier to get started and fill in those gaps.
2. Create a Website
If you haven’t already, claim a domain name that reflects your given name. Yours may be taken if you have a common name (like John Smith, for instance), but you can distinguish it with something unique about yourself.
Think about what makes you different and doesn’t interrupt the ease with which people can find you. It could be something as simple as adding your middle name in between the first and last (johnmontgomerysmith.com). Just set yourself apart and make it easy.
Playing your hand right means you’ll have a place you can go to for the rest of your life to update your resume, include your portfolio, and offer recent contact information. This can make the initial application process much easier and more professional-looking.
3. Pursue an Internship
Much has been said (negatively) about companies that refuse to pay their interns. However, there is no denying the experience and contacts you make might be worthwhile at one of these places, depending on who and where we’re talking about.
Weigh it on a case-by-case basis. If you can get money out of the deal, that’s great. But don’t refuse something just because it seems like you’re being taken advantage of on pay. Someone you meet there might be impressed with your work ethic and knowledge and offer a much bigger helping hand later down the line.
4. Professionalize Your Social Game
Got a bunch of stupid memes or unflattering pics on your social accounts? Now’s a good time to rid yourself of those. Debate us all day on the ethics of it, but employers are looking at your social networks to see if you’re going to embarrass them, and whether they admit it or not, they’re making it a condition of employment.
One good rule of thumb: post only pics and videos and verbiage that you would be fine with your most conservative family member seeing, unless you plan on going into an industry that is in itself irreverent to some degree. Even those value some degree of professionalism, however, so tread lightly.
5. Develop a Look for Interviews
Hey, you plan on going for a few, right? Well, now’s the time to start thinking about your idea of professionalism. It’s important you don’t just go with what makes you feel good.
Yes, comfort is part of it. However, you want to dress in a manner that is compatible with the company or corporate culture of the place where you’re planning to work. It’s okay to be a little overdressed, but stop at suit and tie before renting you a tuxedo.
Overdoing it can make you feel a tad pretentious and silly. Be attentive above all else.
6. Pursue Financial Literacy
Still not sure why this one isn’t being taught uniformly in schools, but it should be. If you were fortunate enough to have a class on the topic in your school, we’re hoping you took it.
Financial literacy keeps you from doing stupid things that put you in a bind as soon as you graduate. Things like:
- Running up credit card debt (i.e., spending more money than you make)
- Giving into impulse buys
- Taking trips you’re not prepared to go on
- Borrowing more money than you need for school
- Borrowing to cover living expenses
As long as you pursue financial literacy, you’ll be able to manage the lean times that tend to come right after graduation. That allows you more freedom to take the career you want instead of the one you need.
7. Get a Job That Pays the Bills
Getting a job before you graduate is entirely doable and is even worth it if you have effectively managed your debt. It doesn’t have to be your final job. It just has to be one that allows you to cover your expenses and put away some extra coin without you having to move back in with your parents.
Remember that you may have to do what you don’t want to do for a time before you can do what you do want to do. That’s a normal part of life that every generation faces, and there is no need to feel inferior about it just because you may feel “behind” others.
8. Learn How to Really Network
You may have to change your ideas of what networking is. Making connections on Facebook, for instance, is too superficial to truly be considered valuable. Networking is about connecting with people from whom you can mutually benefit.
Admittedly, in the beginning, the balance between the two of you may not be even. They may have more to offer, in other words. But if you can commit to making your networking about learning from them, you’ll stand to be in a far better position a few years down the road.
9. Let Stuff Go
It’s easy to hold onto grudges or defeats, but keep in mind that you’re going through a journey of development. The person you are your senior year of high school or college is not the person you are going to be four years from now. Learning to let go of the things you can’t control is one of the most empowering feelings in the world. That said, it can be easier said than done.
Consider employing a mindfulness meditation strategy to help the stress and anxiety melt away. If you’re Christian or Muslim, spend more time in prayer. There are all kinds of ways to focus your efforts. You just have to take the time to explore your emotions and how you best deal with things.
10. Do Not Lose Touch
Treasure these times, especially the relationships you’ve made with friends and teachers. You never know when you will be able to help each other out down the road whenever a job needs references or more information about your abilities.
These contacts are invaluable and can mean the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout your working career. Plus, they’re good to have around whenever you need to travel or connect socially. Who wouldn’t rather stay with a friend for free than pay for an overpriced hotel?
11. Take a Chance
Attempt to do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. It can be something educational, social, or volunteer-wise. You never break through ceilings and barriers if you stay where you are and refuse to take chances. So go for it!
These Future Prep Tips Will Leave No Regrets
Hopefully, you have found this round of future prep tips helpful for the milestone you’ll be experiencing in the next few months. Now it’s your turn. What are you most excited about (or concerned with) regarding your upcoming graduation? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Pexels]