8 Things Every Graduate Should Do After College

graduates tossing caps

So, you’ve graduated – congratulations! Years of hard work, late night study sessions, and dedication to this goal have paid off. It’s time to celebrate your accomplishments and look forward to the variety of paths that are now open to you thanks to earning your online degree. To help you get off on the right foot, check out the following 8 things to do after college that can help you maximize your future success. 

1. Update your resume

Now that you’ve graduated college, it’s time to add that accomplishment to your resume. As you start making updates, remember a few major things: 

  • Be concise, and make your resume easy to read. 
  • List your professional history, starting with the most recent and relevant. 
  • List special skills and/or qualifications that set you apart. 
  • List your educational information, and include any awards, acknowledgements, accolades, and extra-curricular activities (especially those that pertain to your professional career). 

2. Don’t slack

As of 2017, about 86 percent of college graduates found an entry-level or stepping-stone job upon graduation. But whether you land your dream job right away or an in-between job that will help you get there, it’s important to stay active in your field. You can network, build your skills, and stay on top of new developments while you search for the career-level job you desire. 

3. Learn to budget (better) 

Having a budget is one of the most important things to keep in mind after school. Start by figuring out your priorities, like non-negotiable bills and rent. Then, set an amount for more flexible, but still necessary, expenses, like gas and food. Additionally, ensure you have enough money to contribute to a savings account with each paycheck. Your discretionary spending is the final piece of the puzzle. 

4. Get a grasp of your student loans

Now that you’ve created a budget for yourself, you’ll be better equipped to pay any student debt in a timely manner. Making a plan for repayment should be one of your first priorities after graduation. You can access information about any federal loans you may have National Student Loan Data System. It’s important to note that the database does not include any private loans, so it is your responsibility to keep track of those as well. Other helpful resources include the Federal Student Aid and Federal Student Loans websites, which feature repayment calculators and other useful information.

5. Google yourself

Make no mistake, future employers and hiring managers are going to Google your name, so you should be aware of what they will find when prospective employers take to their online research. If there are things you wish to keep private, make sure you change your social media privacy settings and delete any old accounts no longer in use. If there are items on the first search results page that you don’t think best accurately depict your recent professional and academic accomplishments, try creating new profiles or publishing a blog under your real name to bring more noteworthy search results to the forefront.

6. Volunteer 

Volunteering for an organization you’re passionate about can help you become a more connected member of your community. If you’re already busy with work or family, many organizations only request a commitment of a few hours per month. If you’re still searching for a job, a volunteer position can be an excellent way to make professional contacts and keep your skills up-to-date. Make sure to include any volunteer work on your updated resume.

7. Try new things

This next life chapter can be the most exciting one yet. Take this opportunity to try something new, like learning how to rock climb, taking a pottery class, or joining a local book club. Not only will you gain new skills and potentially discover a new passion, but you can make some friends and connections along the way.

8. Keep in touch

You never know when a contact from the past will come back into your life. Maintain your network by keeping in touch with professors, classmates, and former managers. In fact, a simple email every now and again with an article you think they might be interested in can be enough to keep the connection alive. You also can consider using your LinkedIn profile to develop these networks and build your personal, professional brand.

Ashford University's extensive alumni and professor network can be extremely beneficial, whether it’s offering professional advice or making an important connection. With an Ashford University Alumni Association membership, you can take advantage of benefits such as webinars, career services, and online social communities, as well as give back to current students with mentorship or advice.

Congratulations, again, on your accomplishment. Keep in touch, and be sure to share your graduation success with others on the Ashford Facebook page!

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Written by Ashford University Staff

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