April 9, 2019

Getting Your Head in the (Post-College) Game!

Getting ready for the “real-world” is more than updating your resume and polishing your Linked-In profile.  Your head & mindset also needs some major preparation!

There are times when I sure wish I had a time-machine…

I’d hop inside, buckle my seatbelt, and travel back 20+ years to meet my college senior self.  There are a few things I’d like to ask/tell myself, including:

  • What the heck is up with your hair?
  • Invest in that thing called ‘Google’
  • You’re going to be awesome (but it’s going to take some work)

I remember 20+ years ago focusing a ton of the tactics of finding my first “real” job. The Resume. The Cover Letter. The Network. The Linked-In (just kidding … like that was even around back then!).

Looking back, I wish I would have spent more time on my mental game– getting my head and spirit ready for this new (and super challenging) life experience.

Even today, I find that most college seniors (and parents) start with the tactics of finding their first gig.  My advice – start with your head to make this a successful (and memorable) experience.

Here are my recommendations on how to get your head in the post-college game:

Build your (daily) game-plan.  I’ve written about this before, but I think intent is super important to ensure you’re in a good post-college head-space. Think about (and write down) what you want to accomplish each week and check-in with yourself each day. Have both macro and micro activities and make sure you’re set-up for success to accomplish these goals (put your cell phone away). Need some help focusing? Check-out Deep Work by Cal Newport.

Keep track of your progress (and your ah-ha moments).  I wish I knew how to use excel back in the late 90s (all you fellow History major’s will be able to relate – haha).  But seriously, keep notes on (1) what you’re accomplishing and (2) how you’re doing. What are you learning? What’s difficult? Where do you need help?  Remember, this is an experience and you’re going to find some real learnings along the way. I recommend a nice Shinola notebook!

Step away from the computer (said in your mother’s voice)!! This experience shouldn’t consume you 24/7.  Make sure you check-in with yourself and do something that re-charges your batteries.  Could be a workout.  Could be meditation.  Could be outdoor time.  Could be weekend get-away.  Could be an IPA (or two) with friends.  Whatever you need, do it.  You’ll thank me later.

Lighten-up!  I get it. This is hard. But know that it doesn’t have to be perfect (Hey parents – don’t forget this too!).  Remember what I wish I told myself 20+ years ago? “It’s going to be ok!”  That’s right … things are going to be fine, so try not to freak-out in your attempt to find something perfect.  I talk to clients who have changed roles DOZENS of times.  As long as you’re moving toward stuff that interests you and plays to your strengths, you’re good!

Find a buddy (or two) to hold you accountable.  As you’ll discover in the professional world, community is really important.  Start building your community around this experience now!  Let people know how you’re doing.  Ask questions if you’re struggling.  Get a different perspective if you’re frustrated.  There are tons of resources out there (Career Center, Parents, Alumni, Coaches like me…) take advantage!!  Email me if you’d like to chat!

Your homework this week:  Take 30 minutes and access your mental game heading into this new post-college experience.  Do you have the tools necessary beyond your Resume and Linked-In?  Think you need some more help? Don’t forget I have my 4-week “Now What?” course coming up next week – you can check-out more information here and send me an email to sign up!

Coming-up next time:  Hiring decisions are much more about the personal/team fit than the skill fit.  As a former Hiring Manager, I’ll highlight how to impress the hiring team beyond the skills you bring to the table.

PS – if you missed it above, I’m offering a 4-week virtual course called “Now What?” for college seniors.  Sign-up by this Thursday and get a free hour of Career Coaching from yours truly. Email me to get your spot (or ask any questions)!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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