Graduating in May? 11 Things to do NOW

2 people sky diving with red and white parachutes
Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by Kate M. Spaulding

Are you graduating in May? Congratulations, that’s exciting and awesome! And a little bit terrifying, I’m guessing? To help you prepare, I’ve put together a list of tasks for you to work through.

These ideas are ways to set yourself up for career success, and since we’ve got about six weeks off – and you can’t spend every second reading – it’s a great time to organize yourself and get your ground game going. If you’re not graduating in May, you can and should still use this list to start preparing for a career. Dr. Margaret Carroll tells her students, “You don’t become a library professional the day you start your first job; you become a professional the day you start your first class” – so we should absolutely be working on our career while in school.

LinkedIn

  • First of all, you have a LinkedIn profile, right? If not, sign up and create one, pronto. Follow relevant accounts, and start making connections with coworkers, employers, friends, family, classmates, and alumni. You want to start laying the groundwork for networking now, so it will be ready for you in May.
  • Watch Jill Klees’ LinkedIn Workshop to pick up some tips and tricks and learn how to use the site more effectively.
  • Have you worked on any great projects in school, especially ones that show off some of your skills? Add them to your profile! You can include descriptions, links, and collaborators.
  • Take advantage of the free time faculty members also have this month and get recommendations from them. Did one of them give you rave reviews on a project you’ve added to your profile? Ask them to specifically mention that project and how it demonstrates your ability to work on a team, or write effective marketing material, or analyze data, or use HTML5 and CSS stylesheets, or give a presentation, or really anything that you’d like to highlight about yourself and your work.
  • Have you worked on projects outside of school? Perhaps as a volunteer or as part of a student group or within a professional association? The same lessons apply – add them to LinkedIn and get recommendations from supervisors, faculty advisors, or association leadership.

Informational Interviews

Create a Master Resume

  • While you should absolutely tailor your resume for every job you apply for, it can be helpful to have a long, master resume that you keep up-to-date. Include every job, every project, every volunteer position, every technology you’re adept with, and every grad school course.
  • Once you have your master copy, you’ll be more prepared to submit your next tailored resume. You will select the most relevant experience and accomplishments from the master, adjust the wording as necessary to match the job posting, and have a custom resume ready with minimal effort. Then, email it to Jill Klees for a review!

Consider a Personal Website

  • For most people, a robust LinkedIn page is enough. But if you are interested in demonstrating web skills or if you’re taking a more entrepreneurial approach to your career, then you may want to create a personal website. UPDATE: I changed my mind and now think all of us need one.
  • Do you want to be able to build your own site? Consider taking INFO 240 to learn.

Are you a successfully employed LIS professional? Please share any other pre-graduation-career-boosting tasks in the comments! Are you still a student? Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them (or consult with an expert first!).

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