Productive ways to spend the summer after graduation

Graduation is a momentous day in the lives of post-secondary students. After years of schooling that dates all the way back to preschool or kindergarten, newly minted college, university and technical trade school graduates are finally ready to begin their professional lives.

That can be a scary prospect for some students, especially those who graduate without jobs lined up. The summer after graduating from post-secondary school can be a time like no other in the lives of new graduates. It can be easy to grow dejected as weeks or months go by without receiving a job offer. But spending the summer after graduation as productively as possible can help graduates overcome any dejection they might feel and increase their chances of landing a job.

· Contact career services offices at your school. Career services offices can help recent graduates as they look for their first jobs out of school. Such offices may have access to job and internship opportunities that grads do not. In addition, they may coach grads on interviewing techniques and on ways to stand out in crowded job markets.
· Seek internships. If part- or full-time employment is proving elusive, don't be afraid to seek and ultimately accept internships, which can provide a way for grads to get their foot in the doors in certain industries. Summer internships may already be filled, so scour job boards for fall or winter internships.

· Start networking. Students who interned can get in touch with their past supervisors or mentors and find out if the company is hiring. Such people may be more inclined to bring someone with direct experience onboard - even if that experience was brief and unpaid. In addition, grads can connect with adjunct professors or instructors who work in their desired fields.

· When job hunting, don't get pigeon-holed by your major or field of study. Just because a student graduates with a particular degree, certificate or credential does not mean he or she needs to look for work in that field. In fact, many companies may prefer entry-level applicants with degrees that are not specific to their industries so their new hires are blank slates who can be easily trained.

· Attend job fairs. While other graduates may be taking the summer off, enterprising grads looking for work should attend as many job fairs as possible. Graduates likely won't leave job fairs with employment offers in hand, but job fairs are a great way for grads to meet hiring managers and submit their résumés to potential employers.

· Customize a résumé for every job. Be sure your resume is not static. Write and refine résumés for each job you apply for, mildly tweaking the wording or accomplishments to address the key phrases used in the job listing.

It can be tempting for recent grads to spend the summers after graduation relaxing, but those who spend that time productively may lands jobs more quickly than those who do not. You may miss out an opportunity otherwise.

- Metro Creative