Many students these days are completing undergraduate university or college programs and pursuing post-graduate studies. Gone are the day’s young adults could enter a four-year program and be guaranteed a full-time job afterward. Post-graduate schooling is becoming a go-to option for grads because let’s face it; generally, one degree won’t land you a job.
Employers are upping standards and looking for the best of the best because the number of graduates ready to enter the workforce continues to surpass the number of jobs available. Even though being granted access into the workforce is challenging, post-grad programs are designed to prepare students for a specific job in a specific field. Woohoo there is hope!
Whether you’re about to enter a post-grad program or are already in one, here are a few tips to enable you to succeed in the classroom and beyond:
Network, network, and network some more
Seriously. Network until you are blue in the face. We’re increasingly familiar with the phrase, “It’s all about who you know.” And it’s true. Sure, you may have a stacked resume or be on your way to sainthood, but unless you have connections and make your face known in your professional life, your credentials mean little. This doesn’t mean you need to know everyone and go to every social event you are invited to. Even reaching out to people you already know working in your desired field can open doors. Making an effort with people and being genuine will get you further than sending 100 faceless resumes out.
Also, get to know your classmates! You already have something in common with them because you are in the same program. You are all in the same boat and can help each other get through this next phase of your academic career.
Set up a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is one of my favourite platforms because it is basically an online resume. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to connect with people in your field of interest. A quick message to a professional in that field can open a lot of doors. It is also a great place to ask questions and learn more about a position you may be interested in. Even if you haven’t started your post-grad program yet, it is never too early to get ahead of the game and show initiative.
Dress the part
Just because you might be sitting in class for six hours a day, doesn’t mean you should always resort to wearing sweatpants. Post-grad is basically a launching pad into the professional world, so it is wise to dress appropriately. If you know someone important is coming to speak to your class, maybe throw on a blazer and a dress shirt. First impressions matter and you want to put be taken seriously.
Beware your social media
We’ve all had crippling anxiety when you get notified that someone has tagged you in a picture Facebook or Instagram, especially after a ~wild~ night out. You’re probably already dwelling in a pit of shame about the decisions you made that night so you don’t need to be branded by it on social media too. It is likely potential employers and recruiters will try to find you on social media before considering you for an interview. Those pictures from undergrad of you taking shots in your underwear are probably best kept hidden.
Ask your instructors questions
Many professors teaching post-graduate programs used to be professionals in the field you are studying. Most professors are more than happy to answer any and all questions you have about their experience working in your field of interest. Try your best to ask questions in person after or before class, or even visit them during office hours. A face-to-face interaction will help you make an impression and allow you to get to know them better.
Time management is everything
Assignments, group projects, class, and exams are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your responsibilities during post-grad. You also somehow have to make time to eat, sleep, and if you’re lucky, shower. If you can master the art of time management, your life will become a lot easier. Buy an agenda, identify your priorities and write them down in order of importance. Once you’ve done this, you can begin tackling them one by one.
As tough as it is out there, there are people to help you succeed. Post-grad is a time to get to know yourself a little better and prepare for takeoff. Try to implement one or two of these tips at a time and you’ll be surprised at how much the world has to offer you.