College may have equipped you with the skills and knowledge you need to confront the real world, but there is a great deal more you need to understand as you apply for employment or build a business.
Your journey towards professional and personal growth in the real world starts with making yourself visible. Considering that there are millions of fresh graduates who are just as passionate and hungry for success as you are, knowing how to stand out is essential.
The question now is how you can cut through the noise, get your name across, and build your reputation. Making yourself known in the real world can be intimidating, but as long as you apply the following tips, your journey is as good as secured.
Start building your network
Having the right amount of knowledge is not enough to help you navigate the job market and make yourself known to the world. You also need to learn how to find allies and build relationships that will get you to where you need to be.
Networking is a crucial skill to have, and in this day and age of instantaneous communication, you won’t have to do much to build a solid list of contacts. You just need to learn how to build rapport without coming off as awkward or pushy.
The best way to do that is to engage in conversations that relate to your field. You can also join live or virtual events where you get to meet professionals, entrepreneurs, and influencers. Exchange business cards or with these personalities. If they own a business, you can re-introduce yourself through a cold email.
Just be sure to engage whenever you feel it is necessary. You wouldn’t want to turn others off by reacting or commenting every time they post.
Build your credentials
Your education doesn’t stop at the lecture halls. The real world offers a lot more opportunities for building your reputation. Be proactive when it comes to your continuing education.
You don’t have to pursue a post-graduate education to become competent (although it does help you with your career advancement). You can still find similar activities through seminars, conferences, and training.
If you want professional enrichment and to add to your list of credentials, look for events that can add to your competencies. You also have the option of taking up online courses and certificate programs for skills you don’t have. If you want to build a career as a professional creative, you can also undergo training for web development and web design.
The possibilities are endless; all you need to do is to be aware of educational opportunities that lie in wait.
Connect with old friends and mentors
You may have met and forged partnerships with the people who became a part of your journey through college. Now that you are thrown into the world at large, you may have to reconnect with these people and see if you can collaborate with them.
Your classmates and professors back then can become important sources for contacts and opportunities. It would be best to stay in touch with them through social media.
Your professors, at some point, will reach out to you in case they need a resource person or volunteer for a study. Likewise, your college buddies can also invite you to work with them or pitch a potentially profitable business idea. You wouldn’t want to pass up on any of these opportunities, so take time to catch up with them whenever you can. You will be surprised where these interactions will take you later on.
Be your own brand
With the skills that you already have, you need to find work that is best suited for these. To do that, you need to market yourself. You are your own product and with this knowledge, you can engage people and organizations that will see you as an asset.
It’s essential that you spend time building a great online presence. Through your personal social media profile, you can share content that’s related to your interests. You can also initiate conversations on topics that matter in your area.
You can also talk about your interests through blogging. Consider creating an account on platforms such as Medium and HubPages. You can even invest in a professional website if you are pursuing your practice.
If writing blogs isn’t your thing, you can always start a video series or your very own podcast. You don’t have to invest heavily in audio and video equipment. You just need to talk about what’s close to your heart.
Building a compelling presence on LinkedIn is still the best way to get attention. You just need to complete your profile using updated and relevant information about your experiences, skills, and competencies.
With a compelling online presence, you won’t have to worry about introducing yourself to new people and professionals. Bear in mind that your web presence is a reflection of your character. If you want people to voluntarily reach out to you, be sure to act professionally.
Mind your actions and habits
No matter the number of achievements you have had, your reputation still hinges on your actions. Self-awareness matters just as much as competence, so it’s important that you maintain a professional attitude and mindset.
If you want to stand out, you need to show people that you are mature enough to grab life by the horns. People are drawn towards personalities that exude wisdom, restraint, and good humor, so it’s best that you adopt these traits as your own. It also matters to observe proper etiquette when it comes to writing emails or chatting through Zoom.
You don’t have to try hard to become a modern professional. You just have to be inquisitive and eager to learn. Being open to anything also helps you make friends easily and explore ideas that are worth trying.
Finally, you need to keep your emotions in check. The world can be intimidating, to begin with, but it shouldn’t give you a free pass to post something defamatory or false on your social media wall.
If you think you can gain attention that way, then you are actually putting self-respect and professionalism down the drain. If there’s anything you need to express, it’s your intelligence and experience.
Value your skills
In building yourself as your own brand, you need to have a good grasp of your skills and experience. If you are met with an opportunity to work for someone else, the least you could do is to undervalue your skills and knowledge.
You have worked very hard to get to where you are, so it’s best that you seek out better offers along the way. Opt for offers that match the level of experience you have and don’t settle for anything less than what you can handle.
For this reason, it’s important to update your resume every now and then so employers can offer better terms. In case you don’t have the time for that, you can check out sites like resume-example.com and look for resume templates you can use to impress other people.
With these tips in mind, you won’t have to worry about staying relevant. All you need now is to focus on gaining momentum.