Let’s face it. Being an adult can be overwhelming. Especially after going to school for more than 15 years. What can you do to prepare for that readjustment post-college? How can you make it as stress free as possible? What can you do to secure a job after you finally earn that degree that cost you $50,000?

Ask yourself these important questions

Before you get started with networking and online research, you really need to take the time to ask yourself these questions: What kind of job do I want? What kind of company do I want to work for whether it’s a fortune-500, non-profit, or an agency? Am I good fit for this company’s culture? What are the most important factors I’m looking for in this job search? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you filter out jobs. The key is to focus on the jobs that are meaningful to you, and give them a stellar application instead of tossing out your resume to every application you see.

Commit to daily research

Using resources like LinkedIn and Indeed are a good way to start your search. But sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. I would sift through connections on LinkedIn to see what kind of job titles people had and what companies they worked for. That’s an excellent way to find out who is hiring. Also use search engines that are geared towards a specific industry or geographical location. I used OhioMeansJobs.com and EntertainmentCareers.Net for additional help.

Budget your money

My biggest mistake was that I never kept track of how much money I was earning vs. how much I was spending. I was like most college students that wanted to enjoy senior year by having a social life every weekend, going on trips here and there, and going out to eat every other day. I highly recommend to start saving half your paychecks, tackle student loans as soon as possible, and live within your means. That last thing you’re going to want to stress about is money in between jobs.

Don’t send the same resume over and over

Every resume should be unique. You should highlight the skills you have that match the requirements for the job you’re applying for. For every social media job I applied for, I made sure the first bullet point under each title included social media work that I accomplished. That’s going to be the first thing that the employer reads when skimming through your resume so make the wording catchy and specific.

Don’t make salary your top priority

Personal happiness should always be more important than salary. The more money you make equals more stress on the job. You’re probably going to have a lot of responsibilities that can greatly affect the success of the company. Ask yourself if you can handle that kind of pressure in your first position. Ask yourself when looking at the job description if you’re passionate about the job responsibilities and what the company stands for. If you have any doubts, you should probably say no, and move onto the next opportunity. Just remember that in many industries, you’re going to start at the bottom of the ladder, and your salary will reflect that. You’ll make that higher salary once you prove your worth.

Don’t panic

Yes, this is the hardest emotion to avoid when dealing with the unknown. It felt worse for me when people I know found jobs before they even graduated. But everyone’s career path is going to be unique, and you should never, ever compare yourself to other people. There IS a company out there with a culture that fits your personality, and career goals. Just be patient. I promise it’s out there.

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