College graduation is an exciting time for students.
After years of study, you are now free to choose from an infinite amount of life paths. While for many this means jumping into an entry-level career position, for others, it can mean traveling, interning, or taking a gap year.
Carefully consider your options and interests and choose a post-college path that benefits both your career and your passions.
A few ideas with some explanations to help you make a decision.
- Regroup at home.
- Continue your education.
- Become a research assistant.
- Take a gap year.
- Find an internship
- Find volunteer opportunities
- Find seasonal work.
- Work for your college.
- Take an apprenticeship.
- Get an entry-level job.
Regroup from home
Moving home for a while is a great way to look for jobs and explore the many options available to you in a comfortable, cost-effective way. Use the time at home to network with local businesses in your field, connect with other college alumni, and update your resume.
Continue your education: Go to Graduate school
Sometimes, the job you want after college requires more education. Many community colleges offer individual classes to help you prepare for the workforce. Additionally, trade schools can help you gain hands-on skills and qualifications for vocational jobs.
Graduate school is a fantastic option for those who know they need a post-graduate education to meet their long-term career goals. Research graduate programs and schools before applying to make sure you complete a degree that will benefit your intended career.
Become a research assistant
Many colleges and universities hire recent college graduates to assist with research. While many people associate research with the sciences, like chemistry and psychology, many college academic departments perform research. Contact your college or previous professors to see if there are research opportunities available for recent graduates.
Take a gap year
A gap year is a time of exploration and travel after high school or college graduation. Often, graduates who take gap years use that time to experience a new culture and build their soft skills like communication and problem-solving. A gap year can be a great way to gain new experiences and meet new people who may be able to help you find your ideal job once you’re ready.
Find an internship
Internships are a great way for recent graduates to gain entry into competitive industries or companies. While internships can pay less than full-time positions, they often result in resume experience, recommendation letters, and even full-time positions. Begin searching for internships prior to graduation.
Find volunteer opportunities
Volunteering is an excellent way to add experience to your resume. Often, volunteer opportunities help develop hard skills, like task management and leadership, along with soft skills, like communication and adaptability. Sometimes, volunteering can lead to a paid position with the organization or a full-time job elsewhere through networking while volunteering. Additionally, it feels great to provide a service to the community.
Find seasonal work
If you’re passionate about a seasonal activity, consider establishing a schedule of seasonal jobs to accommodate your passion. For example, if you ski, you will have all winter to work at a ski resort. Consider finding work over the holiday season at a retail store, where stores often hire additional employees during the busy season. Or, if you’re an avid hiker, you might enjoy working at a state or national park leading tour during the warmer months.
Work for your college
Many colleges hire their past students to join administrative departments like admissions, development and academic advising. If you love your college and are passionate about higher education, consider speaking with the administrative team at your school to see if there are any open positions for recent graduates.
Take an apprenticeship
While apprenticeships are like internships, they differ in the type of work and depth of mentorship the apprentice has. Often, companies will give apprentices hands-on assignments and real-world problems to solve. They are under the direction of a senior colleague who helps guide and instruct them in the necessary skills and steps to master the job.
Get an entry-level job
Sometimes, the best option after college graduation is to take an entry-level position to gain skills and experience. Even if the job isn’t in your field or something you’re passionate about, a real-world, full-time job will help you build your resume, and give you the support you need to plan for your future and prepare to earn your dream job.
You have your entire life ahead of you; make thoughtful choices.
I wish you all the best for your future.