Less of a Post-Grad and More of a Pro

Pardon my leave of absence, I recently accepted a full-time job in DC! No big deal.

No, this is not a drofferill. It took a summer of post-grad heartache, relentless research, tiresome searches and waiting tables to get here. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t a pretty process. All I ever dreamed about was getting here, and now it’s here.

Let’s get one thing straight –  I started this blog as a way to prove to post-grads that there are necessary steps in this transition of life; you don’t just wear a tassle, plan a party and write thank you cards. But how would you know that? That’s all I ever wrote about. There were painful layers, like psychological effects to changes, and preparing for even bigger ones, that left me stumped.

So, here’s how I did it – I lived and breathed LinkedIn jobs – which you should too. Get searching!

I also drove myself crazy. You shouldn’t do that. Stay motivated, resilient and relentless towards searching, don’t settle and take up an extra hobby (yoga was my saving grace.)

All in all, I can’t imagine anything more life consuming than working for something that you want so badly while dealing with MAJOR change. I’m here, I understand. And there’s hope.


Defining Decade

“Here’s an idea worth spreading to every twenty-something that I know, thirty is NOT the new twenty.” Meg Jay

There have been countless times where I felt that my senior year in college contained SO many lasts, and not a whole lot of firsts. When you have the mentality that things are ending, rather than beginning, it starts to become more of a throw-away decade than a defining one.

For instance, I thought that the end of college meant the end of all of the fun I could possibly have. As a 22-year-old, that’s almost morbid. What would I do on a Saturday that wasn’t dedicated to a football game? I’ll never get to dress up as a catholic school nun at my sorority’s back-to-school bash social again!  Therefore, I thought in order for me to extend the small amount of time I had left for fun, I should use my time on trivial things that didn’t really do anything for me.

Meg Jay completely realizes this trend in twenty-somethings and discusses how to invest in your own personal capital during this defining decade. She references a great quote that is a major takeaway for the speech: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” 

Check it out!

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20


Let’s get real

I’ll admit it. After a month of hiatus from my blog, I felt like I also took a hiatus from life. Among several unforeseen pressures and costs, it wasn’t the glamorous transition that I wanted it to be.

I almost expected the beginning of post-grad life to be a time of reflection. While vicariously watching my friends take Euro trips, make big moves to different grad schools and even accept job offers, I felt like maybe my reflection needed to be less thinking and more doing.

So I did. I got a part-time job, well two. As humbling as working part-time is after interning for prestigious companies, I started to lose track of what I wanted. I wanted to make money, of course, and start to save. But what I wanted most was to start applying. I caught myself sacrificing time meant for research and applying by working extra hours to save for money that I ended up having to spend anyways.

And then came the pressure. Since I was falling behind on my top priority, I became a product of my own disaster. Which can be a relatable feeling, since 44% of millennials feel irritability or anger as a result of stress.

After feeling like I sacrificed my priorities, I started to feel like I was sacrificing myself. The added stress compromised my moods and made me hate my part-time jobs, which made working and time management even less enjoyable.

My report after a mountain of a month with unimportant priorities at the peak rather than the base? Keep what’s on top, ON TOP.

This, especially, includes YOU! Make sure that your well-being and stress management isn’t stressed.

Check out this infographic on my Pinterest board, you will find that millennials may value the importance of work and job searching, but they should always come first.

You don’t have to live in a cabin to get the fever

At first the idea of no longer having a jam-packed schedule with 12 hour days was revolutionary. Now, it’s more of a cruel curse than a blessing.

It’s been nearly a month of my post grad life and I have Bravo, Lifetime movies and the beach to thank for my sources of entertainment. Although I’m more bronze and better researched on all of the Real Housewives shows, I can’t help but become a little stir crazy.

How do post grads deal with such cabin fever? Here is a list of ways to dedicate your time:

  • An obvious must; job search! Dedicate a large chunk of your time every day to research postings and use my blogroll as a source to find listings (I dedicate at least two hours every day to the relentless hunt)
  • Improve your resume and cater different cover letters to different job listings
  • Attend networking events; PRSSA has great events for members
  • Volunteer! I have such a heart for non-profits and hope to work for one in my career. Volunteer Match is a great source to research opportunities that include your interests.
  • Get a part-time job! During college I was a swim instructor and still have the opportunity to pick up shifts. I also got another part-time job hostessing at a local restaurant- your savings account will thank you later.
  • Schedule meetings with mentors and grab lunch with prior colleagues. Remember that being intentional and maintaining your network is a professional must and is super accessible now with a free schedule!

What do you recommend?

Every PR pro will tell you that maintaining relationships with mentors, clients and colleagues is key. After attending several networking events and meetings, we’re wired to be intentional with others.

Therefore, it’s important to reach out to those people frequently, even if it’s not work-related. For instance, one of my mentors from AARP’s social communications team reached out to me VIA Twitter to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day. Sure, the holiday is symbolized by an almost nude baby named Cupid and is aimed for romantic advances, but she made it a point to wish me well.

Another example is when I emailed the Brock Communications team when I landed my internship at AARP. Since their recommendations were vital to my future endeavors, I made sure to let them know about my excitement and gratitude for my success. Lisa Brock emailed me back saying, ‘WAHOOO!’

These interactions are important for maintaining relationships and come in handy for recommendation letters. Am I saying that you should only keep in contact with people because it’ll benefit you? No, they will see right through your lack of sincerity. But they also understand their roles as mentors and like any public relations guru, they have a heart for reaching out to people in need.

So how does one go about receiving these recommendations? Here are some tips:

  • Ask for a LinkedIn endorsement. Several of my colleagues and I have exchanged endorsements. However, make sure to return the favor.
  • Reach out to professors. They have spent at least an entire semester enabling student success and that’s just the start. Visit their office hours and always follow up with a ‘thank you’ card.
  • Focus on jobs that you REALLY want and are specific, that way when you reach out to mentors they can play on your strengths and match them with the company’s needs. Yes, that means researching jobs is imperative.
  • Send personalized emails asking for recommendations. For instance, my first email to my mentor at AARP started with, ‘Hey XYZ, I have to admit that I miss our Google hang outs.’ I don’t talk at my mentors, I talk to them.



What do you mean, I can’t wear Norts to work?

Norts (noun): Nike shorts; A sorority girl’s daily apparel; Worn with the purpose of exercising, but mainly used to participate in daily activities, including: shopping, eating FroYo and crafting. Image

I have 12 different pairs of Norts, and if you’ve already written me off as obsessive, then maybe you haven’t experienced the comfortable bliss of this campus trend that has created me to be the avid collector that I am.

I’ll never forget the day when I had my first interview with Brock Communications, and spoke with Lisa Brock, principal of Brock Communications, about what I looked forward to in the beginning of my professional career. I confided that the transition of work attire from my daily Norts was an exciting wardrobe change and I was ready to put on my big girl pants (literally). Of course, I’ll also never forget Lisa’s sigh when I actually admitted that I wore Norts on a regular basis outside of the office.

There is no better time than NOW for post-grads to go on a shopping spree that will help them look as sharp as they are. To provide you with a better insight as to what kind of must-have pieces for any work environment, here is a list:

  1. Black suit set is an absolute MUST, especially if you are a PR girl like me! Suits are an investment, so I suggest purchasing separates. Express has amazing quality deals and you can find them for discounted prices at their ‘Express Last Call’ outlet in Orlando.
  2. Flats are for the gal on the go. Although I’m a lover of the high heel, flats are plausible and can be fashionable as well! My Tory Burch flats were a pricy Christmas present, but an amazing wardrobe finish.
  3. Tanks. Tanks. And more tanks. If you’re a Florida native like myself, you will want to stock up on sleek black tanks under your suit before dying of heat exhaustion. Old Navy has them for only four dollars each!

Other resources:

  • Forever 21 now has a, ‘what wear to grad edition’ online section for shopping! Gotta love a store that provides insight on a budget.
  • Follow this blog for fashion and DIY projects on a budget. This blogger is a lover of consignment shopping and knows how to get fabulous finds with even more fabulous prices!
  • Loft has great deals and features a ‘work’ related column online for exclusive outfits!
  • Follow my Pinterest board, ‘Corporate Ladder’ for other career-related insights and outfits!

Instant riches

I was overwhelmed by green when I saw bills flying out of money cards on the night of my graduation. I thought, ‘I wonder how rich I would be if I could graduate every year.’

Then my Discover card statement came in the mail and the aroma of my quickly inherited riches subsided. Just when I thought that I had every penny imaginarily spent on Kate Spade wallets, a dose of responsibility hit me harder than the Discover bill.

I am now entering a land of sole financial responsibility and sacrificing food and water for a Henri Bendel bag isn’t going to keep me alive.

To combat my newfound riches with a large amount of budgeting, I have found the top five budget and finance tracking apps for iPhone.

mintMy favorite one is Mint, which is for free! I have allowed Mint to email AND text me when I am dangerously close to being over budget, and it allows me to digitally store my income and expenses that links safely to my bank account. Maybe not Mint, for you? Check out the other promising four!