What do you do after a 10-month all-nighter?

by Nicole Wyche, iMedia Class of 2011

If you would have asked me on May 19st, leather-bound diploma in hand, I would have regaled you with stories of a posh office space with daily (well-run) meetings and a timely return home at 5 or 6pm to catch all my favorite trash tv. Needless to say, I dreamed big and haven’t gotten there just yet.

I was lucky enough to have wonderful transition housing! Complete with a fully stocked fridge, comfortable and familiar amenities and… my parents. After a week or so of pounding the digital pavement I landed a part-time contract position at a small company out of California. There are certain benefits from a 3 hour time difference and flexible work hours, but also challenges. Working from home presents all the issues that running on a treadmill in Krispy Kreme would. There are just so many distractions! Staying focused is the name of the game and that is quite difficult when the traditional distractions are the tools of the job.

During the program, I was fortunate enough to gain a good understanding of development, design and theory. Now, let’s be clear, a good understanding of each leads to complete guru status with none. So, I went with my passion… conversation! Looking into marketing positions, I found that my natural interest in communicating along with my undergraduate degree in journalism and handy interactive media skills made me pretty a competitive candidate for entry-level positions. But the problem remains, too much competition and too few jobs.

I was certainly lucky to score this contract position and start learning about the non-traditional working environments that will become more and more common as the industry matures but I can’t say I’ve given up on my posh office dreams.

That being said, here’s a list of the top 5 things every new graduate should do to to keep from letting the transition get the best of them:

1. Stay digitally connected.

Don’t stop tweeting, linking and friending! It’s always been just as much about who you know as it is what you know. You can use Linkedin, Twitter and other online networks to find internship or job opportunities.

2. Rekindle professional relationships.

Remember that internship you had sophomore year? Do you still talk to your manager or boss? Well, you should! Rekindling these relationships could lead to great opportunities.

3. Better your skills.

You finally have free time! Take advantage of any resources for professional development. Check your local library for classes on a program you’ve always wanted to learn. Scour the internet for video tutorials on techniques that you haven’t quite mastered. These will help you build your portfolio and keep you from forgetting valuable skills.

4. Keep an open mind.

So maybe the job posting doesn’t describe your ideal position. Take a chance! Apply anyway! You’re no worse off, and you rarely know exactly what you would be doing until you get in front of the boss and ask the big questions.

5. Get out!

Professional mixers and events are not only fun, but can serve as great networking opportunities. Conferences, meetings or events for people in your field can help you connect with people that share your interests and, perhaps, lead you to a great work opportunity.

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