Download This Career To-Do List for Your Recent Grads

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Congratulations! Summer is here, the hectic days leading up to graduation are over, and now you and the students you’ve helped mold can relax. For a minute.

OK, that minute is up! As your newly-graduated students move into active job seeker status, there are several tasks you can encourage those brand new alumni (or even current students) to do throughout the summer to gain valuable experience, learn new skills, and get ready for the workforce.

Here’s a summer to-do list you can download and share with recent grads and students:

1. Scrub your social profiles

If you’re like most recent grads, you just spent several years having fun in college and sharing it all on Instagram. In fact, according to a 2019 report from Pew Research Center, 67 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are active on the platform. Now that a full-time job is on the line, it’s crucial to ensure your online reputation will help you find employment.

Google yourself in incognito mode to see what others see if they were to Google you. If you see anything on your social media that would make someone hesitate to hire you, you have options.

If it’s really bad, you can delete it. But in most cases you can just tighten the security options on your profile. Change your settings to make it so that only friends can see your content. This is a simple way to protect your online reputation.

Once you’ve dealt with your posts, you should also make sure your profile photos are professional enough that if a potential employer happens across your profile, it will help your chances of being hired, rather than hurt you.

2. Add extracurriculars to your resume

As a new job seeker, you likely won’t have much professional experience, but it’s not the end of the world. You can use your extracurriculars to show recruiters your personality, leadership skills, determination, and more.

Add your extracurricular activities to your resume and LinkedIn profile to showcase your talents to employers. Whether you were the captain of your intramural volleyball team or you actively volunteered for a student-run professional organization, it all can help show recruiters who you are and why you’d be an excellent fit for their company.

3. Get involved in the community

Volunteering is another way to gain professional experience. Potential employers love to see how your values align with their company culture. What better way to show your values than to share your volunteer experience supporting causes that align with theirs.

For example, if you’re passionate about the environment, find volunteer opportunities this summer to help clean up your local community or organize recycling opportunities for your campus. Then, look for companies that are just as excited about that cause and apply! Use your experience to show you’d be a great fit for the next job they advertise.

4. Don’t forget about your network

Even though you’re getting ready to leave university life behind, there are plenty of relationships you’ve made along the way. It’s important to stay connected. Whether it’s fellow alumni, professors, or social groups, these people can all be valuable to your current and future job searches.

Make a list of all of the people you’ve met over the last few years through college. Then, connect with them on LinkedIn so you can stay in touch, no matter where you end up. You can also plan to send them all thank-you cards to show your appreciation for the role they played in helping you to get through college.

To stay in touch later, you can email them when you see current news that might be relevant to their interests. Sending cards around the holidays is also a great way to keep the relationship alive, long after you’ve stopped seeing them every day.

5. Take some time to enjoy the summer

Ensuring you are mentally and emotionally ready to tackle the job search and a new career is essential to your success. Be sure to balance applying for jobs with doing things you love!

Your job search should be a full-time job in itself, until your land that dream job. Just like a real job, you wouldn’t work 24/7. It’s important to take breaks to keep mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.

A 2018 Gallup study found that two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. If you’re treating your job search as a full-time job, you could find yourself in the same mindset of those workers. Keep yourself from burning out by scheduling specific times during the day to focus on the job search and spend the rest enjoying your summer.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.