Getting From College to Career
September 17, 2008, 4:43 pm
Filed under: 20something, Books, Careers

I actually read Getting From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World by Lindsey Pollak a few months ago, but haven’t found the time to write up a review of it until now. Oops. I guess better late than never is the motto for the day.

As a recent college graduate and a 20something with I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life-itis, I really did enjoy this book. I wish I would have read it while I was in college, though, as many of the tips would have been more helpful then (like interning and visiting my school’s career services office- two things I didn’t do), but I still felt that many of the tips were definitely still applicable to me since Pollak makes it a point to tell her readers to start where ever are you in life and her tips largely follow that philosophy.

The book is divided into ten chapters that contain tips revolving around the same topic, such as being professional, finding your passions, networking, resume advice, and how to find job opportunities. Throughout the book, there are “Make This Work For You” sections that help you translate the advice into action. With her big sister like tone, Pollak isn’t just offering the reader pie in the sky dreams, she’s relating real things you can do to help determine what kind of job you’d like and how to obtain it.

Here are my favorite tips and advice that I found in Getting From College to Career by chapter:

Chapter 1: Get Started

-The worst mistake you can make in your career search is to do nothing
-Subscribe to a daily newspaper to keep up on current events (if nothing else, you’ll have a lot of material for small talk)

Chapter 2: Stop Being a Student and Start Being a Professional
-Change your voice mail message and email address to something more professional, as well as add a signature line with your contact information for all your outgoing emails
-Make business cards for yourself
-Clean up your internet image (i.e., delete your drunken pictures off of Facebook) and replace it with a more professional and involved one
-Subscribe to the newsletters of industries you’re interested in

Chapter 3: Figure Out What You Want and What You Don’t
-Look into job shadowing or finding a mentor to get up close and personal with a career

Chapter 4: Talk. Listen. Repeat. (I.E., Network)
-Network, network, network. With everyone.
-Set up informational interviews with contacts you’ve found through networking
-Become involved with your college as an alum
-Join associations that have to do with your career or potential career and go to their professional conferences
-Keep in touch with people- it’s very hard to network if you don’t.

Chapter 5: Gain Real World Experience
-Do what you have to do to gain experience: seek a leadership role, join clubs and organizations, intern, temp, volunteer, work part time, study abroad. Pollak is careful to point out that if you do work part time, choose a job that has something to do with a potential career choice. One thing I regret from my college years is not working at the school library when I had the chance to. Instead, I took on dead end retail jobs. If I would have had a job at the library throughout college, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to find a full time job in the library field because I would have already had the experience I needed.

Chapter 6: Give Yourself an Edge
-In a nutshell, spend your extra time challenging yourself (physically, mentally, and or socially) so that you can shine a little brighter in the eyes of a potential employer.

Chapter 7: Market Yourself on Paper
-Include an objective statement on your resume
-Quantify everything you can about your experiences

Chapter 8: Find Opportunities
-There are countless ways to find a job, so make sure you’re utilizing all your available resources- both the obvious and not so obvious ones.

Chapter 9: Overprepare for Interviews
-Research the company as much as possible beforehand
-Practice your answers
-Absolutely never be late
-Be nice to everyone you meet at the company or organization where you interview

Chapter 10: Before You Head of into the Real World
-Never lose your enthusiasm

1 Comment so far
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Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing some of your favorite tips. If your readers have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them!


Comment by Lindsey Pollak

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