Monthly Archives: September 2015

GUEST POST: So You Got That College Degree—What Should You Do Now?

What To Do After Getting Your College Degree
Photo by Lauren Bates

You’ve earned a college degree (congrats!) and have been out of school a few years. Now you fall into one of these 6 categories. Pick one:

  1. I have a job and I am willing to do what it takes to advance. There is no indication that my job is one that I enjoy or love.
  2. I just don’t know what to do. I am still working at the job that I had when I graduated. I’ve applied to over 200 jobs and have not heard from anyone.
  3. I am still at home with Mom and Dad and fighting because I yearn to break out on my own!
  4. I’m living a secure life. I have a nice cushy job but my job lacks passion. I have a family; I travel; my kids are enrolled in the best schools; and on the outside I look great! My job, however, lacks focus and direction.
  5. Uhhh, maybe I will take my degree and join the military. I am sure that the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines will take me. Perhaps the Coast Guard or the Army National Guard surely would—after all, I have a degree.
  6. I love my job, but I can hardly buy groceries. I am grossly underpaid.

In each scenario, it appears that each graduate has failed to become a subject matter expert on his or her own career. If it’s to be, then it is surely up to YOU.

Here are a few quick suggestions on how to change your multiple choice selection:

  1. If you have a job and you can’t wait to advance, continue in it but develop your talents by seeking out and partnering with a mentor to help you to steer your talents.
  2. Follow companies, professional industries and recruiters via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to help steer your talents, passions, and interests.
  3. Start with your alumni career center. Then progress to the One Stop Career Centers. Then see the services offered by the Department of Labor career and job search services.
  4. Don’t settle. Leverage your talents by working with a professional career coach to get assistance on merging your skills with a job/career track that fits your heart’s desire. See Career Directors International, The National Resume Writer’s Association, or Career Thought Leaders for recommendations.
  5. If your only reason to join the military is that you can’t think of any other options to suit your skills, interests, and talents, well…maybe they want you and maybe they don’t. You may be sorry if you jump into the military for that sole reason. Then again, the military offers hidden gems such as sign on bonuses, advanced positions based on your degree, additional educational bonuses, and two, four, and six-year commitments. So on the other hand, check out your options. And if you decide to do it, thank you in advance for your service.
  6. Join a professional association and leverage your unique skills to garner consulting opportunities, blogging gigs (paid), and advancement within the profession. Take this free copy of Supercharge Your Job Search

About the Author:
Debra Ann Matthews is a resume’ writing specialist and owner of Let Me Write It For You. If your resume’ is not getting you the interviews you are working so hard for, contact Debra at, or connect with her online:
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Are You Tracking Your Accomplishments To Advance Your Career?

Photo by Joan Brunner
Photo by Joan Brunner

During the time I worked in the music business—for two record labels and two music dot-com’s—I had a great boss I worked for at three of those four companies. I remember during a walk around our block of downtown Nashville one day his encouraging me to always log my accomplishments.

Sometimes after we land that new job we’ve worked for so hard, we tend to relax and not think about such things. We shift focus onto getting up to speed, learning policies and procedures, and being successful in the new role. And for those of us who were brought up in the South or a conservative country, we’re probably used to parental admonition to be humble and avoid bragging.

But having an advantage in every step of the job search process can help put you ahead of the competition (and, this type information can also give you concrete examples at raise time.) So always keep up with your accomplishments and the big recognizable clients you’ve worked with at each job.

For example, although I did not work directly with the client, the work I did for the Project Managers and Sales Managers at one large company included NASA, Texas A&M University, and Boeing. Impressive clients on a résumé can really draw the attention of hiring managers.

Your new job is most likely not the last job you will have in your career, and it’s easier to keep up with accomplishments as they happen rather than trying to think back later. I recommend creating a word processing document that is not your résumé, and as you accomplish significant things outside of your expected duties or work with noteworthy clients, log it there. Shoot for listing at least one top accomplishment per year with each company. Then you can pick and choose what to include the next time you update your résumé.

People get promoted not only because they do a good job but because they perform beyond expectations, showing they can be effective in helping their company reach tomorrow’s goals. So as I mentioned earlier, keeping up with your accomplishments as you achieve them will also be to your benefit come performance review time.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.