Developing a Professional Identity: Life Tips for College Grads
The transition from college student to college grad is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Your days of studying and homework are replaced with job hunts, networking, or working in a new environment. In order to make the most of your degree, you need to have a professional identity – something that employers will respect and connect with. Here are some tips for developing a professional identity after college.
Create a Memorable Resume
Your resume is often your first impression. Since most applications occur online these days, you may not get the chance to see an employer in person. You have to represent yourself on paper. Follow these tips to write a killer resume:
- Use a template to create a professional-looking resume. There are plenty of free resume templates online that you can edit and make your own. Special fonts and mature color schemes will make your resume stand out from a sea of black and white apps.
- Keep sentences short and to the point. The employer will most likely skim your resume, rather than reading every line. Get as much across as you can in a concise form.
- Accentuate your most valuable skills and experiences. If you do not have a lot of relevant work experience, put your education at the top of your resume. If your work experience is more significant than your degree, put that first. Think about what your employer would be most intrigued by, and make sure that has a place of honor.
- Maintain a consistent format. Each section of the resume should look coherent, from the way the bullets are laid out to the colors used for the headings.
- Check and re-check your grammar and spelling. Careless errors will make even the best candidate look unprofessional.
Get on a Work-Like Schedule
Even if you do not have a job yet, you should schedule your days as if you have one. Apply for jobs during normal business hours, and maintain a healthy sleep routine. This will get you in a professional mindset, and it will make the transition to a job much easier. If you look alert and put-together during an interview, you’re more likely to land the job.
Be Careful What You Post on Social Media
Employers check social media to see how their applicants are in real life. Are you conducting yourself in a way that a company would feel comfortable with? If not, consider deleting inappropriate content from your accounts. At the very least, make most of your account details private so your public image remains professional.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
If you do not have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to get one. This is a secondary place to list your accomplishments, and it is a great platform for networking with potential employers. Some applications ask for LinkedIn details as part of the process, so you might as well be ready for that.
You spent years in college preparing for your career. Be proud of that! Looking for a job can be frustrating at times, but you will find something soon enough. Keep your stress low and your confidence high, and you will quickly benefit from your new-found professional identity.