3 Things Every Graduate Must Do After Commencement

college grad standing in cap and gown

The graduation stage has been swept off; confetti is in the trash; and alumni stickers have been adhered to car bumpers across the country. As university staff and faculty return to their day-to-day work, they wonder: What are the graduates doing?

What should graduates do after commencement? In researching this question, you may find the majority of post-grad literature is directed toward twenty-somethings who are debating whether to move back in with their parents or travel to Europe. However, many non-traditional students are parents themselves and are returning from commencement to juggle their children, bills, work, friends, spouses, etc. This to-do list is created especially for the non-traditional, life-balancing graduates.

A Quick, Post-Grad To-Do List

1. Treat Yourself

All too often, graduates get swept up in the logistics of commencement and they forget to take a moment to breathe and reflect on their accomplishments. Graduates should take stock of the exciting, intellectually stimulating time of higher education. Reflecting and recording these accomplishments will be beneficial both personally and professionally. Cheers!

2. Update Everything

Social Media Makeover! LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles are probably due for an update. Non-traditional students have the advantage of being part of a variety of work, social, and school networks; it’s important for graduates to share their recent achievement. Aside from the congratulatory posts and messages, an updated profile grabs the attention of recruiters, potential employers, and friends who may know about a great opportunity. Jorgen Sundberg, the Senior Recruitment Business Partner for internal Talent Acquisition Team for McAfee, says, “Candidates can help themselves by keeping their profile up to date…If it’s not, there is a huge risk that a recruiter would just look over the profile and move on to the next.”

It’s important for graduates to share their recent achievement.

It’s important for graduates to share their recent achievement.Don’t forget to update your resume in the process. Many students are forced to neglect their resume due to school projects, discussion posts, and research. A good first step in updating a resume is to add your most recent educational accomplishments. Non-traditional students seeking a career change could also add relevant projects that align with their future career goals. Lily Zhang, a Career Development Specialist at MIT, encourages students to integrate academic projects into resume updates. She states, “It’s important to note that those [academic projects] are fair game and should definitely be included in your resume.” Informing an employer of these projects conveys academic experience in the desired career field.

3. Identify Career Allies

Many non-traditional students work while attending school, so they may have the intention to advance within their current company. Reaching out to the human resources department to discuss motivations for earning an advanced degree, career goals, and potential opportunities within the company can open a channel of communication that results in exciting possibilities for your future.

A little known secret in all universities is a small, commonly over-looked department called Career Services. Career Services advisors really want to support the career development of students and alumni. Their insight and tools can support positive strides toward an exciting career opportunity.

Congrats, Grad! Celebrating your achievement is exciting. Now it’s a great time to transfer the positive energy toward the bright future ahead.



Written by Emily Stark, Career & Employer Outreach Specialist at Ashford University

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