When you’re in college it feels like life is laid out for you. You’ve joined your favorite organizations, professional development opportunities are at your fingertips, and your advisor keeps you on the right path. Once you graduate, the post-grad lifestyle forces you into self-sufficiency. Depending on your location and the experience you gained in college, you may be faced with a lack of opportunity. Here are 3 ways you can create opportunity when there is none.
1. Create a personal digital space outside of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an awesome professional platform where you can display your experience and accomplishments. However, with the millions of other profiles on LinkedIn, I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t standing out amongst other applicants. I decided to create my own digital space, twentysomethingcreative.com, where I could blog and share my personality. I’ve gotten more interviews off of my personal website compared to my paper resume and cover letter. Personal websites are a perfect way to showcase your personal brand identity. Employers want to hire humans and not pieces of paper.
Tip: Check out platforms like Squarespace, Wordpress, and Behance.
2. Strategically network. When I graduated college, I tried to attend every networking event possible. Quickly I realized I was burning through cash and I wasn’t gaining meaningful contacts. I stopped going to every event and started attending those where I could connect with like-minded young professionals. You should always have the goal of creating a relationship where you can bring something to the table. Once you make these connections don’t forget to maintain the relationship. Are you nervous about going to networking events? Create a list of goals before you attend to stay on track.
3. Volunteer and freelance as much as possible. I have joined organizations that offer philanthropic and professional development. I made sure I wasn’t just a member of those organizations and offered my social media and graphic design services. Research to find any organizations in your area where you can volunteer and gain contacts. Also, offer freelance services on projects where you see yourself fit. You never know where a volunteer or freelance project can take you.
Photo source: http://www.thetrendnfemale.com