Graduation: 3 Ways to Turn a New Degree into a New Opportunity

Graduation: 3 Ways to Turn a New Degree into a New Opportunity

To the new graduates, congratulations! Take a deep breath and relish your achievement. Enjoy your success. It’s a major accomplishment, and kudos to you from your family, friends and colleagues.

Hopefully this isn’t the first time you’ve considered what’s coming after graduation. You chose a degree program based on the current outlook in your industry, you did the research to figure out which program was best for you, and you have kept up on your workload and completed the program. You’ve done everything right to get to this point.

So now the time has come to turn your new degree into a new opportunity.  Here are three strategies to consider:

1. Understand Your New Skills

Figure out what your biggest assets and takeaways are. What have you learned from your degree program that relates to your specific field and makes you a valuable employee?

Did you hold a co-op or internship that gave you workplace experience? Did you complete course assignments or projects that mimics work at your workplace or in your chosen field? Did you work collaboratively with classmates, some of whom speak other languages,  live in other  time zones or have different cultural or economic norms?

Don’t forget to mention you proved your ability to meet deadlines, succeed in a cooperative environment, managed deadlines and grew into a self-starter. All of these types of skills and experience are readily  transferrable from the academic world to the working world.

2. Show Off Your Brand

The names on your degree can help you go a long way – yours and your university. If you attend a university like Northeastern, you have the reputation of the institution behind you – don’t be afraid to show it off and show how much you accomplished there.

The second name to tout  is your own. What’s your own personal brand? What was it that set you apart from others you saw in your classes or at the workplace who may be competing for the same positions? Use examples of your coursework, projects and coops to get your name out there and highlight what you have accomplished.

3. Look To Your New Network

Utilize the new, expanded network you have created by being part of the university community. Your professors, colleagues and fellow graduates may well work in sectors that appeal to you and would be willing to help you achieve your job goals. As you well know, you could send a job application and  resume to an online portal 1,000 times and never hear anything back.

At  Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, degree programs are geared towards working adults, so you regularly interface with very motivated  folks who are already in careers. This is the best possible network to have. And since many, if not most, of the professors are working in their fields, not only do they give you real life experience and tips, but they can and do help students in the real-work place. The personal touch and approach through networking will almost always yield better and more effective results.

With your new degree, you are capable of so much. Be open to unexpected opportunity. Take Risks. Try. Work Hard. Be Kind. Succeed.

About Joanne Goldstein

Joanne F. Goldstein, former Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serves as Associate Vice President of Workforce Development and Employer Engagement in the College of Professional Studies. She leads workforce development, with a specific focus on integrating workforce needs into academic programs at the College.

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