I Graduated College, Whats Next?Congratulations on your college graduation! You have reached a major milestone in your life, and you have achieved a major goal that not everyone has the opportunity to achieve. Right now your aspirations are high, so it is important to act upon them.

However, if you are like many graduates, you're finding yourself a little unsure about what your next steps should be now that college is over. We would like to offer some help to you by providing some guidance about how you might begin preparing for your first career opportunity.

It can be a daunting task, preparing for your first job interview. These simple, yet effective steps, will help you prepare for success and give you the confidence you need to help shake off any interview jitters you might have.

Write the best resume you can...or hire someone to do it for you!

Recruiters and employers are looking for candidates who know how to grab their attention. Although you just finished college, it's still possible for you to impress them with your resume. However, that won't happen if you don't know how to make them envision you as the type of employee they're looking for.

Old-style resumes involved including an Objective section at the top of the page, and this is probably the style you're most familiar with. However, recent studies show that your resume has about six seconds to earn someone's attention before it's tossed aside, so you need to make those six seconds count. You can do that by beginning with your achievements, even if they're relatively minor. Think of any internships or specialized training you had while you were in school, and use the top of your resume to highlight this information. Once an employer sees that you have initiative, he or she is more likely to continue reading to learn more about you.

Use the remainder of your resume to pinpoint other achievements and accolades you received in college. A resume that speaks of success translates into a career with continued success.

Be prepared for every interview...

Once you pass the resume "test" you will be invited to come in for an interview. This is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. However, it's vital that you don't focus solely on yourself. The most successful job candidates conduct themselves in a way that allows them to interview the potential employer during that first meeting too. According to an article on Forbes.com, employers are very interested in candidates who took the time to ask pointed questions about the company they want to work for. They dig deeper, and by doing so they demonstrate their curiosity and desire to learn. Also, make sure you have done your homework ahead of time. Undoubtedly, you will be asked about how much you know about the company. If you don't have an answer to give, it won't reflect well on you or your future as an employee.

Build your personal brand...

The Internet makes it easier than ever for you to build your personal brand, and branding yourself is all about knowing how to network. LinkedIn is a valuable resource for you, whether you're just finishing college or you've been in the workforce for years. Use this site to create an optimized, achievement-oriented profile, and then get active. Join groups, make connections, and talk with other people who work in your field. Find out about networking groups and events in your local area and plan to attend them. After a while, you will become known as someone people can turn to with questions, and you might find yourself with a few job offers. Stay focused on your goals, and reach out when people need help. Networking is vital for the success of your career, regardless of your field of expertise.

Each of these steps is crucial in helping you achieve your goals as a professional in your field. Knowing how to proceed once college is over will prepare you for success in your career for years to come. Before you know it, the job offers will begin coming in, and as long as you follow these steps, you will be able to establish yourself with a company for your very first job.

If you are an ECPI University student or graduate and would like help with ANY of the above suggestions, be sure to visit your campus Career Services Office and ask for help! We are to help make sure that attending ECPI University was one of the Best Decisions You Ever Made!

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