It’s happening… the ultimate Sunday scary of my life so far. Yeah sure… graduating high school was a HUGE deal. Leaving my friends, moving away from home, and living in a small dorm room with someone I barely knew, all are pretty big steps. Except now, as I am a short four months away from graduating college, this seems a little scarier. Apart from having to get my own insurance, pay my bills, and find a city to call home, I now need to find a “big girl job.” How in the world am I supposed to do that? When am I supposed to do that? Where do I even begin? These are just a few questions running through my already chaotic head. Luckily for me, I have an array of advisors, mentors, cheerleaders, and yes… a therapist, who are helping me start the transition from student to alum. My WMPRSA mentor match this summer, Delaney MacKenzie from BlackTruck Media + Marketing, helped me come up with this list of ideas, and as I work my way through the steps, I figured I would share them with you. These are the steps I’m taking to prepare for the job hunt.

  1. Make a Perfect Post-Grad Scenario

We all know that perfection can be next to impossible to achieve, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine a perfect post-graduate scenario. If you’re like me, and you aren’t 100% sure what you want life to look like after you get your diploma, imagining what the best case scenario would be can at least help get the gears turning. Once you have your best case figured out, you can move down the line and start thinking about what your second and third choices would look like. You can include things like “your perfect boss” or “your perfect job responsibilities,” which will help you narrow down options during the interview process. It is important to note, however, that you need to be flexible on some of your goals, as they might not be achievable when you first hit the job market. 

  1. Start Window Shopping

Before you even begin your job search, it can be a good idea to start looking at who is hiring and what they are looking for. This can give you an idea of what companies are looking for out of entry-level candidates. If you notice that many companies add that they are looking for HubSpot certifications, or Google Analytics experience, now is the perfect time to add those to your resume. Take note of what job descriptions stand out to you, that way, when it comes time to start applying, you can keep an eye out for similar descriptions.

  1. Make a Post-Grad Bucket List

I like to say that I am pretty involved in my program here at Grand Valley. So involved that I have had multiple people tell me that life after college may be daunting. Not because I’ll be so busy, but quite the opposite. Without student organizations like GVPRSSA and GrandPR, and without classes to attend, what am I supposed to do with all my time? I could always pour myself into my work, but that’s a whole different conversation about setting boundaries and a work-life balance. Before you graduate, try coming up with a post-grad bucket list full of ideas you can do now that you aren’t stuck in six-to-nine PM classes. Some of the things on my post-grad bucket list include:

  1. Read 1 book a month
  2. Start practicing yoga regularly
  3. Make one new meal each week

The job search can be grueling, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t going through this alone. Every college graduate experiences this and it is a short transition before entering true adulthood. Grand Valley’s Career Center offers plenty of resources to help you get started as well, so when in doubt, ask for help. There’s no shame in that.

Payton is a senior studying Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in PR. She currently serves as the VP of Public Relations for GVPRSSA, after serving last year as the VP of Programming. Payton also serves as the Media Coordinator for GrandPR. Payton is currently a Corporate Communications Intern with The Perrigo Company, after previously serving as an intern for The Meraki Agency, and Grand Valley State University Development. This is her third year involved with PRSSA, and after graduating in December, Payton hopes to work in-house for a West Michigan-based company. Outside of school and work, Payton loves houseplants and exploring Grand Rapids.