You dreamt, you planned, you believed, you worked, and you conquered. Congratulations on achieving this milestone! Now get ready for a whole new adventure.
Along with the thousands of new graduates leaving university this summer, you’re about to embark on a new chapter in your life; scary isn’t it?
So what’s next for you? Have you got it all planned out or are you still exploring all the options available to you? Whether you will be continuing with education, starting or seeking a new job, or simply taking a break, there are a few things you should do to ensure you make the most of the resources available to you. Three to be precise.
1 – Develop your online presence
It’s never been as important to have a professional online presence. Today, from a simple click of a button employers can get to know a lot about you – both professionally and personally. For this reason, developing your professional online presence is crucial.
A strong professional online presence makes it easy for employers to search and assess you as a potential candidate. So ask yourself… “If an employer Googles my name, what would they see?” What does your online presence say about you?
If you are already on LinkedIn, make sure you update your profile by adding your degree result, work or volunteer experiences, extra-curricular activities, and getting some up-to-date recommendations from your lecturers, employers and fellow graduates.
Remember, your LinkedIn profile is your 24-hour CV – it works for you while you sleep – so make sure it is selling the best and most up-to-date version of yourself!
2 – Consolidate your network
Throughout your time at University you will have made many friends and connections. Be they colleagues on your course, lecturers, professors, mentors or advisors, each and every connection will have offered something different and can continue to do so as you progress into the next phase of your journey. So keeping in touch with them is important.
Make sure you reach out and make contact with these individuals. Let them know about your plans and aspirations either by adding them to your professional or social networks, pinging them an email or having a telephone conversation. Remind them how valuable they are, how they can continue to help and thank them for their support.
Research shows that increasingly more jobs are secured through networking of some sort, so being highly networked is essential for job seekers.
3 – Connect with your institution’s Alumni
Are you making the most of your alumni network? Alumni of your institution represent a significant pool of knowledge, experience and support; a powerful resource of warm contacts that are often more than willing to help.
Sites like LinkedIn make it easy for you to find, connect and network with alumni who could potentially offer:
- valuable advice and guidance (mentoring)
- first-hand insights and information
- useful introductions and referrals (a gateway to jobs and opportunities)
- helpful custom and services (business and enterprise)
The Alumni Tool on LinkedIn is fantastic for doing this. You can filter and pinpoint individuals situated in the companies, industries and locations of interest to you. Never has it been so easy to locate fellow alumni of your institution by their relevance and usefulness to you!
Another way to tap into your alumni network is through your university’s Alumni Office – get in touch with them – or by attending networking events. Find out about guest lectures, seminars, and other professional/social events taking place on- or off-campus. These represent ideal opportunities to meet with alumni and introduce yourself. Make sure you register on the Bradford Connect Alumni Portal so you can keep in touch and find out about relevant opportunities available to graduates.
Once you have identified individuals within your institutional network make sure not to fall at the first hurdle. A professional approach and effective communication skills are essential. So brush up on your networking etiquette. More often than not, if you ask politely and specify clearly your reasons for reaching out then you can expect a positive response.
Congratulations on your graduation! May this be the beginning of a successful journey!
Jonaid Khan, MBA 2018; BA Combined Studies 2010
Jonaid is an experienced higher education professional with expertise in alumni relations and development, careers and employability, and project management. As Alumni Relations Manager at the University of Bradford, Jonaid leads on the University’s engagement with an international community of more than 140,000 alumni. He manages a number of alumni engagement activities and projects with the aim of encouraging and enabling alumni to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with their alma mater.