My fall semester graduate friends have me feeling nostalgic. Here is a list of things I wish I knew before entering the real world.
- Be self-aware
The world knows everything about you. Be in control of crafting the narrative by being savvy with what you share.
- Your career started 4 years ago
Maybe 5 if you were like me in college.
- Emotional Intelligence
Google it. Practice it.
- Create an about.me page
Here is mine for reference. Don’t have much to say? Take a hi-res picture of yourself somewhere interesting. Fake it until you make it.
- Create a vanity LinkedIn URL
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – First name, last name. If taken, use first name, middle initial, last name. Worst case scenario, add a number.
- Delete all your terrible tweets
This wasn’t so much of an issue for me in 2010, but I recommend running an advanced search and pruning profanity, politics, and anything that could be misinterpreted.
- Delete allllllll your terrible tweets
Sorry that your aspirations to be the next highly opinionated Internet celebrity didn’t work out. Use this to start from scratch without losing followers.
- Claim your personal branded assets
firstname.lastname@example.org, yourname.com, linkedin.com/in/yourname (really trying to drive this home), twitter.com/yourname, facebook.com/yourname, instagram.com/yourname. You get the picture.
- Consider making all your social accounts private
Or maybe don’t. For me, my personal/professional life blurred very quickly right off the bat. This led to a lot of cleanup of old, useless posts that I thought were funny but probably no one else would. There is a thin line between being authentic and being too transparent.
- Stay in touch with friends and classmates, but keep moving forward
Your alumni network of peers is a great thing to consider spending time on, but it will probably not help you attain success or wealth right out of school.
Bonus: Keep in touch with professors and let them know of your successes. College newspapers are great PR early on in your career and your alma mater will want to brag about you.
- Instead, join a professional society
For example, if you’re looking to work in the non-profit field in any major city, you should join YNPN.
- Don’t run right back to school
A Masters degree is nice to think about, but think about how you can rise up through the ranks without one. Instead of embarking on a journey that might be costly and unnecessary, try taking a class or two at a specialized training school, like General Assembly.
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