Anyone who’s made it to the finish line has heard this question way too many times. What are you gonna do after graduation? Well, I wanna pass my finals first to make sure it's still a go. Then after that, I’m going to get my outfit together, decorate my cap, get extra tickets for my family, make a hair appointment, get my nails done, put in about fifty more applications, pack my stuff to go home and pray that I get an interview. But after graduation… I’m not sure yet.
I understand it's a general question, but it's not easy. People don’t just graduate one weekend and start a career the following weekday. That would be ideal. But does that happen for everyone? Nope.
When I was in college, I always imagined that I would start my career right away. I’m a hard worker, so I figured employers would be blowing my phone up. It got to the point where I dreaded talking to people about my plans because I knew what they were going to ask. I didn’t know how to respond. Nothing was certain other than the fact that I was moving back home.
My point is, we all have ideas for what we want. Sometimes those ideas are replaced with reality. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone about their next move. I've chosen to let people tell me because I’ve been there.
Also, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. There’s a big difference in, "Congrats! What's the next step?" and "Wait, so what did you get your degree in? Oh. Now, what exactly do you think you’re going to be able to do with that?" Pause for a second and read them both out loud. See what I mean?
To all of the students working hard and preparing to walk the stage, I wish you nothing but the best! If I see you out in public, you don’t have to worry about me being one more person asking you what you’re going to do after graduation. Just continue to work hard, have faith and everything is going to work out for you! And if you ever need any advice on getting through it, I got you.
I visited Charlotte Today to talk about video resumes! This was my first interview about my services. Colleen and Eugene are so nice, they along with the entire staff made me feel welcomed. I was a little nervous, until I sat down on the couch. When it was my time to go on set, I knew I had to just do it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
P.S. The dress is from Rent the Runway!
People can tell a lot about you by your profile picture. Sure, it’s not cool to judge a book by its cover, but it happens. If your profile picture shows you with a group of friends drunk, with your tongue sticking out, or sticking up your middle finger, what will a hiring manager think?
I can tell you what they won’t think. They won't think you’re the perfect candidate for the job. It’s not fair, I know, but would you hire someone with a suggestive profile picture for a job?
We all have our own personal lives outside of the office but that’s where privacy settings and Snapchat come in handy. Don’t put everything out there for people to see. Why does it matter? Believe it or not, people will look you up. They check out your online presence before you’re hired. They check when you get hired and they may even try to be nosey enough to see what you’re up to when you leave. Don’t give people something negative to talk about.
Here are a few tips on taking a professional profile picture:
If you’re going to take a professional photo, wear a professional outfit. You don’t have to look like you’re going on an interview or to the royal wedding but look your best.
Who wants to work with someone who looks miserable and unapproachable? A smile will show people that you are friendly and open to new opportunities.
Quality is Key
You don’t have to use a professional camera but make sure it's a clear photo. Posting a blurry photo shows you didn’t care enough to take the time to take a decent one.
I get the whole fake it until you make it, but not for this. If you’re trying to be something you’re not, you run the risk of it coming through in your photo. Be your authentic self and hope for the best!
For the most part, we get to try things out before making a decision. We test drive cars before we buy them. We visit houses in person before signing mortgages. We try on clothes before we add them to our wardrobes.
The same can happen in our careers! I highly recommend taking an internship to decide if you’re in the right field.
I started doing internships in high school. My school called them "Explorer’s Programs." I completed one at the Mint Museum, The Charlotte Observer, and Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. I gained valuable experience. I learned how to be a better writer, earned volunteer hours as a junior docent, learned about Charlotte art, self-defense, etiquette tips, and more.
The most important thing I learned was that I no longer wanted to go to school for journalism. Why? Because I was advised in high school, that within five years people wouldn't be reading newspapers and magazines. I couldn't believe my ears. I loved newspapers and magazines. I read them faithfully. This was pre-social media and WiFi. So the thought of not reading the news in print just didn't sit well with me. However, I kept it in mind and considered other options.
Once I got to college it all made sense. Social media is where we find out about everything. By the time the news hits the stands we've already seen it through an app on our phones.
As an undergrad, I gravitated more toward social media, event planning, and marketing. I also completed more internships where I learned more about radio, public relations, and digital marketing.
I landed in higher education, which ended up being a great fit. My journey to get here would have been more difficult had I not done those internships. Each one taught me something different that I will always remember and apply to my current and future jobs.
Whether you’re in school or not I recommend doing an internship. Most programs are for college students but it won't hurt to ask. It's the best way to determine if what you think you want to do is actually what you want to.
If you’d like to set up a resume workshop, mock interview or need advice on internships, please contact me!
P.S. I don't have very many pictures. This was before smartphones. As you can see, I have a digital camera around my neck! :-)
I am a proud member of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals Auxiliary. Our exec board hosted several events during Join Week 2018. It was an honor to facilitate the Wine Tasting for fellow young professionals.
During the wine tasting, we reviewed wine etiquette including different types of glasses and how to hold a wine glass properly. We sampled Moscato, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Thank you to the Urban League YP's for allowing me to help with the tasting. It was a great experience and I look forward to future events!
I dreamt of going to college since I was in elementary school. The goal was to go to college, go to grad school, get a job in a big city working in the music industry using my PR skills, get married, travel with my husband, then think about having kids. Nothing went as planned. Literally, nothing at all.
After I graduated college, I moved back home and struggled to find a job. I worked part-time as a radio promo associate, ended up going to school online, and didn’t get a job in my field until a few years down the line.
I didn’t think life after college was going to be perfect. But I didn’t think it would be so hard. There were times when I wanted to give up. I started to regret even going to school. Why work so hard to get a degree that you can’t use? Who wants to be hassled to pay back loans with a just a part-time job? Do you know how annoying it is for every job you apply for to say you don’t have enough experience? How can I get experience when I can’t find a job, to begin with? The flashbacks are so strong. Let me reel it back in. Relax, relate, release!
There are a few things that I wish I had known:
Finding a Job is Not Easy
Before I graduated college, I literally got every job I applied for. Granted, they were summer part-time jobs or internships, but still. So when I left college and couldn’t get a call-back, I didn’t know how to handle it. When I got an email starting with anything along the lines of, “We appreciate you taking the time to apply for...” I wanted to flip a table. You'd think that you should be able to get a decent job with a degree but that's not always the case.
It’s Hard to Make Friends
This one took me by surprise. Once I graduated I felt so distant from people my age. When you’re in school, you make new friends on the regular. It’s so simple to strike up a conversation with someone in the cafeteria or walking to class. In the real world? Everyone is already grouped off and it can be difficult to find your way in. There are people like you out there, looking make friends. Volunteering and networking are great ways to make connections. You’re around like-minded people who believe in giving back to others and promoting themselves.
Stay in Touch with the People You Know and Love
Once you graduate, you may end up in a whole new city from the people you met in school. Don’t lose those connections! You will need them. Take the time to send a quick text or pick up the phone and call that old roommate or best friend from college. That person may need to hear from you, too. We’re all going through it. Think about much you appreciate it when someone checks in on you.
Not Everyone is Willing to Help You
You will meet people who are so excited that you’ve graduated from college! They may appear to be happy for you and want to see you do great things, but this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people out there only want you to help them - for free. I’m a huge advocate for internships but don’t let people work you too much. A lot of times people will make you think they want to help but in reality, they’re just picking your brain because you’re fresh out of school and may know something that they don’t know. Network, volunteer, intern, job shadow, take a new class, anything that will help you and make you more marketable in your job search. Just know that it’s important to understand who is truly rooting for you and who’s just using you.
Post-Grad Depression Is Real
Have you ever cried and didn’t realize you were crying? I actually remember being home watching TV, eating ice-cream and all of a sudden, I felt the tears fall down my face. I had never experienced that before. I dealt with so many rejections, in addition to my own issues in my personal life that it weighed me down. I got to the point where I would only eat certain things. I went through a chicken tender phase. I also went through a period of time where I only wanted salt and vinegar chips. It sounds weird but it must have been a chemical imbalance. I lost sleep. Most days, I didn’t want to go to sleep and wake up to another “we chose another candidate email.” I felt like everyone was against me since no one would give me a chance. I prayed so hard to get out of that place. I really had to learn to be strong and have faith that things would work out for me. And they did!
I wouldn’t dare say this 3 to 5 years ago but now that I’m good, I can say, “I’m glad I went through it.” I couldn’t see it then but I truly believe that I went through all of that so that I would appreciate where I am today. If I had walked across the stage and in an office starting out at 21, I would probably think it’s all about me and I wouldn’t be able to share my struggle to help other people. God makes no mistakes. He knew that I needed to be back home with my family. He knew that I needed to take time to get myself together before working full-time. Most importantly, He knew that I needed a break. I was in agony spending so much time on the couch waiting for someone to call me for an interview. But I had worked so hard in school since kindergarten and I started working at 16! I needed some time to be able to just relax. I would have enjoyed it more had I not put so much pressure on myself. But I’m glad I made it. And whatever you’re going through in your post-grad life, you’ll get through it!
For those of you who dealt with the harsh reality of being thrown into “adulting,” how did you cope? What are some tips that helped you get through any struggles that you faced?
Since this is my first blog post, I thought I’d introduce myself to you. Based on what’s listed on my website, I’m sure you know that I’m an etiquette consultant. I offer professional services to help people reach their goals, but I wanted to share a few things about myself that aren’t on my about me page. If you stick around, you’ll see some of these expanded on in future blog posts.
Going to concerts is one of my hobbies. I’ve been to over 20 concerts.
Martin is my favorite TV show. I quote Martin every single day.
I have a long travel bucket list. I would love to explore as many new places as possible.
I love painting and coloring. It’s my favorite way to de-stress.
I haven’t had a perm since I was 19. I’m team natural and proud.
I’d like to learn how to play an instrument. Maybe piano, guitar or the drums.
I hate roller coasters. Don’t try to convince me to get on one.
Food is very important to me. I eat every 3-4 hours in order to avoid being hangry.
I love dressing up. I’d choose a dress over jeans any day.
Writing makes me feel free! I’m a little nervous about starting a blog, but I love writing so it should be fun. I hope you enjoy!
I'm excited to share more posts with you!