Here comes the dreaded “So what are your plans for after graduation?” question!

As break and the holidays approach, many of you will be around folks who care about you and haven’t seen you in a while.  They want to catch up, and in a well-meaning effort to make conversation, they may ask you the question that, if you haven’t got a firm plan yet, you’ve been dreading.

“So what are your plans for after graduation?”

Here are some tips on how to answer it.

  1.  If you don’t have any idea what you want to do, and have been avoiding meeting with a career advisor, you can simply say: “At this point, I’m focusing on my studies and considering my options.  I plan to spend a good amount of time over winter break focusing on this, and meeting with my career advisor.  I will keep you updated as things evolve”.
  2. If you have an idea of what you want to do, but haven’t started applying yet, you have some options for answers.  A.) I’m thinking I want to do xxx, and I’m currently searching for jobs in that area.  If you have any contacts that you think might be good for me to speak with, I’d love to get connected!”.  B.) I’m thinking I want to do xxx, but that industry doesn’t do it’s hiring until the spring, so in the meantime, I’m researching companies, making sure I get my resume in good shape and learn how to write a solid cover letter, and networking/doing informational interviewing.  If you know anyone in the field that I could learn from, I’d love to get connected!”.
  3. If you know what you want to do, and have been applying and so far don’t have an offer, just go ahead and speak your truth. “I want to go into this field, and have been applying for xxx kind of job.  I’ve met with my career advisor to get my resume and cover letters in great shape, and to learn about opportunities.  So far, I’ve been unlucky, but it’s just a matter of time until the right thing comes along.  I’ve been doing some networking, and if you know anyone in the field that I could learn from, I’d love to get connected.”

A strong majority of seniors don’t yet know what they will do after graduation!  If you are one of them, you are in good company.  As long as you are taking the steps you need to make yourself the best applicant you can be, you will get a job, or you will get into grad school.

Next step is to make good on those words!  Meet with one of your SBS career advisors.  Explore the career communities on the SBS Pathways website.  Do some informational interviews/attend alumni speaker/panel/networking events.  Get on Linkedin.  Register for SBS Shadows and shadow an alum at work over winter break.  Participate in our new winter break skill building modules (stay tuned for news on that!).

No need to dread the question!  All will come together in time, and as it should.

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences