April 28, 2017

Advice to New Graduates

These past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for many of our interns. With college graduation approaching this weekend, it’s no surprise why. I remember graduation day for me was full of excitement, anxiousness, sadness, eagerness, and fear.

Going from being with your closest friends each day on a college campus to going to working full-time is a huge adjustment that many aren’t prepared for. After graduation, fear starts to set in for many due to the uncertainty that lies ahead. While everyone has a different path, there are tips every college graduate should take into consideration when starting a new career.

Tips to Succeeding After College

Readers are Leaders

I’ll never forget when a professor told me we will read more after college than we did in college—I thought he was kidding. After a few months at my first job, I soon figured out he wasn’t kidding.

When you onboard at your new company and get to know your leadership team, you will soon find that they all read to learn more about leadership, marketing, business decisions, sales, finance, you name it. These books aren’t just for leaders in your company. If you want to learn, grow, and not stay in an entry-level position forever, start to read. Our first core value is Leadership, which tells us that leadership is a behavior, not a position.

Reading doesn’t always mean reading a 200-page textbook about the four P’s of marketing. There are thousands of books that can help you in all areas of adulthood—including to help you further you in your career.

If long books aren’t your thing, there are plenty of blogs, podcasts, and videos online that are interesting, helpful, and free. Follow industry influencers online to stay up to date on their recent blogs, thoughts, and podcasts.

Whatever you do, read and learn often.

Ask Questions

If you were the type of student to never ask questions or never go to office hours, be prepared for a change. Through onboarding presentations at your company or training with your supervisor, it’s important to ask questions along the way. Good questions show that your gears are turning and you’re thinking about the material at hand.

Just as important as it is to ask questions, it’s crucial to answer your own questions. Don’t be afraid to use your good friend Google, your employee handbook, or your company’s Standard Operating Procedures to dive in and answer your own questions.

Get Certified

In many industries—especially marketing—certifications can be a key tool to help you grow in your current career or to help you land one. Certifications are great resume builders to post about on LinkedIn, help you stand out in your field, and will help you do your job better (the most important one, after all).

If you haven’t landed your dream career or feel like you’re just not getting a certain subject, try bettering yourself with a certification. Here are a few we recommend to learn more about inbound marketing:

Identify Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

If you took any business classes in college, you are probably familiar with a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis isn’t just for analyzing businesses, it can also be used to dive into your personal strengths and weaknesses. The more you know about yourself the more you can invest in your weaknesses.

Here in the studio, we make it a regular habit to take a look at our strengths and weaknesses, and dive into resources to help us grow in those particular areas. Some members of our team recently took the 16 Personalities self-evaluation exam to dive deeper into our strengths and weakness and potentially uncover some we haven’t before.

I encourage all recent graduations to make a list of their own strengths and weaknesses and then ask a friend for anything additional. After your list is created, spend time on enhancing your weaknesses.

Play to your strengths, and build into your weaknesses.

Set Goals

While in college, most students have one goal—graduate. Now that you’ve graduated, what are you working towards to better yourself? It’s important to remember to set goals to better yourself as an employee and personally. Take your strengths and weaknesses as outlined above and set goals to better yourself and your weaknesses.

While goal setting, it’s important to remember for your goals to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Instead of having a goal, “I want to be a CEO one day,” think of what it will take to get there.

Have six-month goals or yearly goals to help better yourself and to better your weaknesses. If you’re like me, maybe you need to write your goals on sticky notes to help keep yourself accountable. Whatever you do, set goals and follow through.

Make Yourself a Priority

If you are a student, you walk—a lot. Even if you never go to the gym, you’re active walking to class, walking downtown, or walking to a friend’s apartment. Fast forward a few months when you’re at your new job. If your job involves you sitting at a desk, going from walking throughout the day to sitting for sometimes eight hours a day can take a toll on your body.

Make sure after graduation, you make time for yourself. Go on a walk during lunch break, ask if your company would allow a standing desk (several of our team members love them), and don’t order takeout every night for dinner. Make you and your health a priority.

Don’t Give Up

Finally, don’t give up on yourself. During your first few years after college, you will quickly learn you know a lot less than you thought you did. You will get discouraged and you will make mistakes; however, keep in mind when those times come, don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. Read often to learn new things, ask questions, check out certifications to better your skillset, set goals for yourself, have fun, and most of all, don’t give up.

Congratulations to all graduates out there—especially our Fall and Spring interns! We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Alexis Fillmer

With a strategic mind and a love for culture and leadership, Alexis spends each day working to get the most out of every idea and person on our team. As our Director of Operations, she’s responsible for creating organizational clarity, ensuring excellence in our services, and creating a culture in which our team members can flourish.

Outside of PHOS, you can find Alexis playing with her son at the park, starting a new house project (and maybe finishing it), at the nearest farmer’s market, trying a new recipe, or scoping out live music with her husband.