3 Essential Tools for New Graduates

Tis’ the season for graduates! With the academic year wrapping up, graduates are blessing our timelines with decorated caps, stories of overcoming endeavors and crossing the stage to accept their degrees.

As congratulations are in order, we have 3 essential tools to help our new graduates make a smooth transition to their new chapter of life.

Don’t neglect your resources

No matter what college you attended, every department had a building or office you would go to when you needed a resource or something done to help you during your college experience.

Now that you’ve stepped into society, there are resources disguised as either an organization or conference that can help you in life.

Whether you are a self-employed fresh graduate, seeking a new role, or employed, joining a professional organization that aligns with the industry you work in is vital for access to resources. For example, if you’re a nurse, join an organization for nurses and.or medical professionals. These organizations often have other members that are subject matter experts across the industry, and may send out weekly or monthly newsletters with industry- related news, updates and useful need to knows, as well as access to industry- related information such as training’s and networking opportunities that can help a fresh graduate enter the workforce with ease.

Some of these organizations are The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Association of Black Women Physicians, and many more. These organizations also host multiple conferences throughout the year that help with personal and professional development. They present local and national opportunities to network, apply for grants and are often acknowledged by employers as positive extracurricular activities.

Take time out to network

With network being a buzz word in the industry these days it can often be overlooked but do not be dismayed. Networking, both digitally and in your local area is a vital part of success in today’s ever-changing industry.

One very useful and work oriented outlet you can market yourself while documenting your work is Linkedin. With direct access to recruiters, industry leaders, and peers who are sharing their career development journey, LinkedIn had become a great way to market yourself and draw recruiters to you and the work that you do. Simply post videos, pictures and other interactive updates of projects, current career-related news and questions you may have and begin a dialog with your network.

[Related: Hustle Smart: Get LinkedIn, Get Leveled Up]

Networking locally is also a great way to get to know professionals in the industry. Many organizations and businesses host happy hours and meetups. As intimidating as it can be as a fresh graduate you would be surprised at the number of professionals looking to give advice and meet fresh graduates.

Seek Out Mentors

As a new graduate, you bring a fresh perspective to a team.

Fresh graduates are often the pillars of new energy and revival for a company. But with that comes a lot of energy that can be wrongly directed from a lack of knowledge. This is where a mentor comes in. A mentor is often someone that can advise you on how to handle opportunities and achieve your long and short term goals. I believe that everyone should have two categories of mentors: one for life and one for your career.

Conferences, happy hour, and other professional development opportunities can be a great place to meet and speak with potential mentors. LinkedIn is also a great place to seek out mentors for your industry. When approaching a potential mentor, be polite, be up to date on where and what they do, and offer to treat them to a drink or a meal to further discuss a mentoring opportunity.

Furthermore, be sure to sell yourself and your future aspirations as they are looking to invest their time and skills into your development.

Written by Sina K.

Sina K is a recent graduate and Engineer at one of the top aerospace companies in the world. Along with writing, her passions include increasing minority presence in the tech and STEM community and promoting financial literacy and independence in our communities.