Navigating life post-graduation can be filled with ups and downs. For first-generation students, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ job seekers, it’s important to know what resources are available to help you succeed as you go through adulthood. The following five strategies can help propel you toward a successful life beyond college.
Post-graduation success for diverse students
Build your professional network
Having a solid professional network is one of the best things you can do after graduation. While it may seem daunting to start building your network from the ground up, you can start small by making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that it includes relevant information. Standing out on LinkedIn can help draw other professionals to your account and it can increase your chances of finding a job after graduation. By building an online presence you can grow your network and be in the loop for any professional events.
Next, you’ll want to seek out some in-person networking opportunities. You can find networking events also on LinkedIn but it can be helpful to check out local organizations in your area to see if any professional gatherings are taking place near you. It’s important to note that you should be trying to surround yourself with people that can empower and uplift you professionally and personally.
For BIPOC, first-generation students, and LGBTQ+ job seekers it’s incredibly important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. To do this, utilize your university’s resources. For example, some universities have support groups and regularly scheduled LGBTQ+ events and clubs that promote inclusivity and diversity. These events are great opportunities to meet new people and to start expanding your network.
Set professional and personal goals
After graduation, make a list of both professional and personal goals that you would like to achieve. Setting SMART goals for yourself will help give you something to work towards and it’ll keep you motivated for success in adulthood. These goals can be as ambitious as you’d like so don’t hold yourself back from dreaming big.
Some examples of professional goals could be to start your own business, take on a leadership role, or learn a new skill that could put you ahead of the competition. To accomplish these goals you’ll want to stay organized and create a plan that can allow you to achieve what you’re striving for. For example, if you want to take on a leadership role, you can work with your supervisor to have a conversation about how you can get there and why you’re ready to take on these responsibilities.
Examples of personal goals would include, traveling more, being more active, or buying your first home. With personal goals, you’ll also need to come up with a plan on how you can work towards these objectives. If one of your personal goals is to buy your first home, start by understanding how much house you can afford based on your salary. Once you have a number in mind, you can adjust your budget and save accordingly. Achieving these goals won’t happen overnight so stay organized and diligent as you begin this process.
Perfect your resume
When you begin the process of applying for jobs post-graduation it can be a little overwhelming. The best place to start is by ensuring that your resume is in good shape. Your resume is the first thing employers will make a judgment on so it’s crucial that you stand out from the crowd. You’ll want to have a good understanding of what employers are looking for on graduates’ resumes. This will help you craft a standout resume and it will increase your chances of securing a job post-graduation.
Your resume doesn’t have to be cookie cutter either. You can focus on your unique experience and expertise. For first generation, you’ll want to highlight your diverse experience. For example, working with diverse teams, being bilingual, and volunteering are all things you’ll want to mention. Your resume is a reflection of you and your accomplishments so make sure it includes what makes you unique.
Find a mentor
Having a mentor to depend on as you navigate your professional life can help you in countless ways. For example, keeping you motivated and providing you with extra guidance as you go through adulthood. It’s important to note that there are different types of mentors. These can include career mentors, life mentors, and even business mentors. If you’re interested in finding a mentor, start by reflecting on what qualities you’d like them to have and how you’d like them to help you.
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, the next step is finding them. This might feel overwhelming at first, but it’s easier if you know where to look. For example, if you’re searching for a career mentor, platforms like LinkedIn can put you in touch with people who may be a good fit. Additionally, acquiring contacts at in-person events can also give you an advantage. If you’re searching for a business mentor, there are Facebook groups that offer advice about owning your own business. These groups are filled with knowledgeable business owners that could help you on your journey.
It can also be beneficial to find a mentor that has had similar experiences as you. For example, first-generation graduates can find a mentor that is also in the first-generation community. This way they can both have a deeper understanding of what the other is trying to accomplish.
Continue to learn
Even after graduation, continuing to learn will put you ahead of your peers. Make an effort to continue learning as this is the perfect time to dive into any sort of topics that spark your interest. If you’re not sure where to start, you can join a book club or look into online classes. Book clubs can help you learn by providing an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics with groups of people. You’ll also be able to get a variety of opinions and viewpoints by conversing with people outside your personal bubble. Online classes are more formal and can also give you an edge after graduation. Nowadays, there are plenty of online courses available. With topics ranging from computer science to poetry, you’re bound to find a class that fits your needs.
Life after graduation can be exciting and challenging, but with the right resources, you can achieve all of your goals. Graduates with diverse experiences should use this information as a way to get ahead and put their best foot forward.