Preparing for the Real World

Spring is quickly approaching, and with it, so is graduation day for many college seniors. If you are approaching the end of your formal education, you need to make sure you are ready for the big transition ahead of you. Hopefully, you have been preparing for your graduation since you started college by completing internships, and seeking other experiences that would build your resume and prepare you for the real world. As your college career winds down, make sure you are fully prepared for the reality ahead of you by completing the suggested steps we have advised below:

  1. Update your Resume:
    • As a fresh college graduate, you might not have a ton of real work experience to include on your resume. If that is true, make sure you include any volunteer experiences and/or college and community organizations you were involved in on your resume.
    • Highlight any skills or experiences you have gained that are relevant to the career you want or industry you want to break into.
    • You can even include classes or school projects on your resume that might be relevant to the work you want to do in the real world.
    • If you are graduating with an impressive GPA, be sure to include that on your resume. Since you might not have a ton of work experience, it’s important to highlight your educational value to a potential employer.
  1. Find References:
    • Before you officially graduate, it’s important to compile a list of relevant references, because having good references is a critical part of the job search.
    • Reach out to any former supervisors from work-study positions, off-campus jobs, or internships. Make sure you have their permission to use them as a reference and all their current contact information.
    • You should also reach out to any professors or academic advisors that you worked closely with, or that you feel had a strong hand in your education before you leave campus for good. Again, make sure you have their permission and contact info.
  2. Start Applying:
    • While you don’t want to start applying for current job openings in February if you aren’t graduating until May, it is good to start getting your resume out to as many companies as possible.
    • Many larger corporations have entry-level programs for recent graduates that they fill using college recruiters. These types of programs usually start accepting applications prior to graduation, so that they can line up new hires to start ASAP after graduation.
    • Reach out to staffing agencies in your desired location and try to get your resume in the hands of a recruiter. A recruiter might be able to get your resume on the desk of a potential employer much faster and easier than you would be able to on your own.
  3. Attend Career Fairs:
    • Career fairs are a great resource for soon-to-be college graduates, especially those held by your university.
    • Companies who attend college career fairs are specifically targeting entry-level professionals, so they are not expecting the extensive work experience that other opportunities might require.
    • Career fairs are also great for their networking opportunities. Even if you don’t apply directly for any job openings, you can gain networking contacts from the businesses that attend.
  4. Network:
    • As a recent college grad new to the working world, your best chance of getting a job is through networking.
    • Network through your school contacts, past internships, friends, professors, and even through your parents and their contacts.
    • Most colleges also have career centers that can help you network with alumni working in your desired industry.
    • Take advantage of every resource and networking opportunity you have while you are still in school, because once you graduate you are on your own!

WAI Staff

Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving businesses and job seekers in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1972, we’ve been dedicated to matching highly qualified candidates with a wide variety of temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions. We prioritize the needs of both our clients and candidates to ensure successful, lasting relationships.