My internship ended this past Friday, I am graduating in less than a month, and I am now posed with the daunting question most people in my position are faced with.. now what? Somehow I feel like sitting at home on my couch scanning Craig’s List idly is not going to help me fulfill my future goals, so finally it became time to be a real person and start being proactive. The first piece of advice told to me by teachers, professionals, and friends is always “network.” So, networking-away I have gone. I have reached out to independent free-lance graphic designers, professionals from my internship, family friends, random blog authors whose content and design I enjoy, agencies I basically just drool over, and random students and groups who I genuinely just admire. The strange thing is is that I have not pinpointed an exact question or topic for these people to address when we finally do speak. The first woman I ever called was my mother’s best friend’s niece. I was given her phone number and name and told to “just talk to her to see what she has to say.” I am not sure exactly what that means. I found myself drawing a blank when she answered the phone and asked what I was calling regarding. Um, well, I am about to graduate and wanted to see if you had any advice for me? She really didn’t and by the end of that conversation I had learned two things. First, that I need to rehearse. I have heard people talk about going on mock interviews or speaking in public to practice and I thought this was absurd. Well, now I know. I felt like an idiot on the phone with her for half the conversation because I had not thought about what information I wanted from her or what insight I was looking for. I learned in the professional world you need to think ahead. Even small phone calls matter, they represent you. You need to sell YOU to yourself before you can even attempt to do so with another individual. Second, I learned that even though this woman basically had no insight for me except “make sure you dress well and have a business card,” that following through is very important. The fact of the matter is she was expecting my call, and acknowledged on the phone that at her agency when someone gives out their information and the other individual does not follow-up it is deemed highly unprofessional. When that phone call was over I breathed a sigh of relief. I realized that I was doing the right thing, and just because that one conversation went no where does not mean that one of the next 25 calls I make won’t. Perseverance is key and making personal connections in this industry seems like a great way to get your foot in the door. You’d be surprised who you meet and what opportunities may appear at your doorstep. I hope that everyone with the graduation jitters stays optimistic and embraces the months to come!
10 things to consider post-grad.