Completely on a whim, I decided to book a one-way Megabus ticket from New York City straight to Boston. Seeing that I've always lived in a city, I had never taken one before. My ticket was $20 and would prove to be the most influential experience I have experienced in a very long time. But I'll save that story for another post.
I sat across from a bright Pace University student who was on her way home to surprise her family for Mother's Day. The bus wifi was down (surprise, surprise) and I was completely thrilled when I struck up a conversation with the student in front of me. We'll call her Melissa.
Melissa was bright, inspired and eager. She wanted a mentor but felt completely stuck. She had been applying for internships in her field for months with no luck.
She started to ask me questions about my transition from college into this magical place we call the "real world." As I started to share my advice, I realized transitioning is hard for some. But some of the pieces of advice I was giving Melissa were also some of the tips that helped me the most. They can help you land an internship or even a job.
Here are a few career hacks you should implement now:
1. Starting using LinkedIn more than you use Facebook.
Think about it. Being tagged in photos of you partying is lovely and all, but leveraging your network is how you become successful not only socially, but also professionally.
No matter where you are in college or your career, any time is the right time to start building up your LinkedIn presence. Connect with peers, teachers and industry connections you meet along your college and professional journey. It's the easiest and most organic way to beef up your network.
2. Build a social media presence.
I'm not suggesting that you must develop a massive audience to get a job. But understanding how users engage with popular media outlets and social media channels can help you better understand your job and industry. Especially those pursuing creative fields, marketing, and TV.
3. Backup your documents in the cloud.
I started storing my documents in the cloud since the day I discovered Google Drive. Time and time again this has helped me professionally. I no longer worry about leaving an external hard drive at home, a flash drive going corrupt or worst of all, theft.
At a moment's notice, I can access any document I've created as far back as middle school. Think about the papers, the excel sheets, the artwork and photos you've written in your lifetime and how beautiful it would be to reduce, reuse and recycle those bad boys. I prefer Google Drive because it's integrated with my email and is a huge timesaver. Dropbox and Box are also two other options.
4. Make business cards.
Business cards are still a networking game-changer and are now cheaper than ever to make. I use Moo or Staples.
5. Create a simple website for yourself.
This isn't something to add to your new nifty business cards, but a website is also a great place to stand out during an interview and showcase your talents to the world.
6. Learn the basics of coding and graphic design.
You would be surprised by how often these basic skills can make or break you landing a job. Basic HTML and CSS are not only applicable to current and future jobs, but they can also come in handy for side projects if you've ever thought of starting a business or creative project. I enjoy Treehouse.