Getting to the end of a new degree and taking the stage to accept your honors takes a lot of hard work and effort, and you deserve to set some time aside to celebrate your accomplishment. However, as a recent graduate, it’s also the time to polish your professional appearance, so you can give yourself the best chance to put that new degree to good use.
1: Establish a Professional Persona
Get a professional e-mail address. The cutesy, clever email address or the one featuring your nickname from high school should not be the one you use on resumes. You need a professional email account that includes your name -- without any frills -- in the address.
2: Safeguard Your Online Identity
Perform an Internet search on yourself and see what comes up. Look for anything objectionable, unprofessional, or otherwise disagreeable. If it’s your content, then remove it or reclassify it so it stays private. If it’s someone else’s content, ask them to remove it.
3: Make Your Smartphone a Career Resource
If you have a smartphone, start thinking about how you can be using it in your job search and professional career. Nancy Darling listed some excellent ideas in Psychology Today:
• Keep a PDF copy of your resume and your references on your phone.
• Use note-taking apps to capture job-hunting ideas and tasks.
• Take notes on any new professional contacts to help you remember who they are, what they can do for you, and what you can do for them.
• Enter the name and number of every organization you interview with, whether you have a specific person to maintain contact with or not.
• Update your recorded message to reflect the professional persona you want to project to possible employers.
Step 4: Master the Art of Professional Correspondence
If you haven’t learned how to write a professional letter or e-mail by now, then you need to learn quickly. If you have, then practice your skills until it becomes second nature. The ability to act polite and professional in person and over the phone is just as important. From the way you answer your phone to the subject line you choose for your email, one slip-up can cost you a job or an interview opportunity. Every correspondence should reflect the professional you want others to see you as.
Step 5: Keep in Touch with Your Colleagues & Allies
The professors, students, and employers who helped you get this far can also help you get closer to your goals. Keeping in touch with them will help you develop a network of professional allies that could last a lifetime. The easiest way to get started is to send a professional expression of your appreciation for the contributions they’ve already made to your life.