4 essential pieces of career advice for the Class of 2017

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If you have a job in hand, congratulations. Now, start thinking about your next job.

Absolutely focus on doing your very best for your new employer, but have a plan on where you are headed next and let that guide you as you acquire skills and experiences.

If you are still on the job hunt — don’t panic, plan it.

FIRST A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE: YOU ARE NOT TRYING TO FIND THE JOB YOU ARE GOING TO RETIRE FROM.

It hasn’t been invented yet. Instead, look for any opportunity to gain experience and skill. Break it down: What are you most passionate about and what are four aspects of that passion? Answer a few questions: what do you do, how do you do it, where do you do it, with whom do you do it? Now, what are some of the jobs that fit these four aspects? Use those findings as a guide for keywords in an advanced search on indeed.com or careerbuilder.com to seek opportunities, like jobs, internships, and volunteerships.

NEXT, START AND THEN COMPLETE A LINKEDIN PROFILE.

Aim for 100/100. 100 percent complete and 100 professional contacts (not your buddies and BFFs, but real live professionals). Start with your alumni. See LinkedIn.com/alumni, this fantastic little hidden gem will surface all the alumni from your school in a dynamic dashboard that includes geographic location, company/organization, and job title. Click on one or more of the labels to sort alumni and you’ll be networking in no time. Ask to connect with them, but don’t send the pre-written standard message (which screams “I want to connect with you but I’m too lazy to write anything original”). Craft a short message that is personalized, like: “I’m graduating from xx institution in a few weeks and identified you on LinkedIn as someone I would like to speak with. I’m very interested in learning more about your career path and to get your advice on starting out in this industry.” You’ll be amazed at how many folks love to get this kind of message and will respond.

Also on LinkedIn, find out if there is an alumni group for your institution. If yes, join it then message the whole group that you are just graduating and would like to ask a few questions about transitioning to your career field(s). Avoid sounding desperate (“Someone pleeeez help me!”). Keep it professional, concise and authentic. You are asking for advice, not a handout.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK IN WITH CAREER SERVICES AT YOUR SCHOOL.

I bet they have tons of connections and late-season hiring opportunities that alumni and companies are sending in. We get them all the time at my institution. Some of the coolest openings come in at the last minute, including over the summer after your graduation.

FINALLY, WHEN YOU LAND THAT JOB, LET YOUR ALMA MATER KNOW.

We all want to hear that you are doing great and good in the world. And, when you can, give back. Support the annual fund every year, even if it is a few dollars, and then, when you have a chance, answer the call from the seniors that follow you in the coming years who are asking for advice. Tell them not to panic; it will be all right.

Michael Sciola is Colgate University’s associate vice president of institutional advancement and career initiatives.

Original Article: http://college.usatoday.com/2017/05/11/4-essential-pieces-of-career-advice-for-the-class-of-2017/